River Dee capsize rescue slowed by vandalised life ring
Efforts to rescue five young rowers whose boat capsized at Aberdeen Harbour were hampered by a vandalised life ring, according to their coach.
The girls - members of the Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association - got into difficulty on the River Dee shortly before 15:00 on Saturday.
Chief coach Ian Duncan said the life ring's line had been cut.
Despite that, the girls managed to climb on top of their overturned boat before being rescued.
They were picked up by the pilot boat from Aberdeen Harbour within 10 minutes of going into the water, close to Victoria Bridge.
Mr Duncan condemned the actions of those responsible.
He said: "I would like for them to think very hard that they may need that for themselves, or a friend, or a family member. before they cut that line.
"It's an emergency piece of equipment. I can't think what kind of mindset someone has to go and cut an emergency piece of equipment that's vital and could save a life."
Aberdeen RNLI lifeboat and a coastguard rescue team aided in the rescue, along with an offshore industry rescue helicopter.
It is understood that a doctor who was travelling in the helicopter was lowered to the harbour to assist with medical checks on the girls.
Senior Coastguard Officer Jonathan Mustard later tweeted a video of the rescue and said: "Very proud of my Coastguard colleagues!"
Aberdeen City Council said all the lifeboats in the area were inspected last week.
A spokeswoman added: "They are being checked again this morning and we will undertake any repairs or replacements required.
"We would strongly ask people not to vandalise or move life belts as they can literally be a life-saver."