Navy rescues pair from capsized dinghy

The men had been in the water for 60 minutes
The men had been in the water for 60 minutes

A warship on its way to the Mediterranean from Faslane has rescued two men from their capsized dinghy off Ailsa Craig.

Said to be experienced sailors in their late 20s, the two men set off from Largs on Tuesday for a two-day trip in their 16-feet Wayfarer dinghy.

They got into difficulties a mile and a half off the famous landmark in moderate seas and capsized, before their aft locker compartment flooded and they were unable to right the boat.

One of the men used his mobile phone to call a friend who is a member of the Campbeltown RNLI crew, who in turn alerted Belfast’s Coastguard station.

They were able to identify shipping in the vicinity and contacted HMS Blyth, which was about three miles away at the time of the call.

HMS Blyth is based at Faslane
HMS Blyth is based at Faslane

The mine-hunter was first on the scene and launched her sea boat to recover the two men who were cold but otherwise uninjured.

After providing hot showers and a change of clothes, the men were handed over to Girvan lifeboat ‘Sylvia Burrell’ for transport back to the mainland.

Commanding officer of HMS Blyth, Lieutenant Commander Mark Redmayne, said: “As soon as we got the call from the Coastguard at about 3pm, we responded by deploying my ship’s company as lookouts.

“Soon after, one of our diving team spotted the lads on the upturned dinghy. It was very fortuitous that we were passing at the right place, at the right time, considering we are on our way to the Mediterranean.

“They were recovered by our sea boat and looked like a pair of drowned rats. They had been clinging to the boat in the water for about 60 minutes but once aboard HMS Blyth we were able to offer them a shower and some overalls to wear.”

He added: “Although luck and unusually favourable local weather conditions had a hand in the successful recovery of these two experienced sailors, the inter-operability between HM Coastguard, the RNLI and RN has undoubtedly ensured that these individuals will return to Largs with little more than their pride dented.”

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