NEW RESCUE RECORD HIGH
The RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn launched today on its 70th rescue call out of the year.
This is a new record high number of 'shouts', with the previous record being only 57. With still 10 days of the year left, this could rise even further, as the volunteer crew have previously been involved in call outs during the festive season and are on stand-by 24/7, including Christmas day.
Mike McErlane, helmsman of the inshore lifeboat, related today's rescue, "About 11.30am today (21/12/2007) we were paged to search for a small fishing vessel 'Solo' a 17 foot boat from West Wemyss, which had become disorientated and lost in the dense morning fog which covered the Forth. Workmen and the Park Warden at Ravenscraig park had heard calls for help coming from the sea and had contacted the Coastguard."
"A search involving the RNLI lifeboat, helicopter and Coastguard crews was instigated and we were tasked to search from the car park at Pathhead Sands Kirkcaldy to Francis Colliery monument. The fog was reducing visibility to between 20 -30 feet and we had to keep stopping the engines and shouting to see if we received any reply. During the search my eyelashes and the 'a' frame of the boat froze up, it was unbelievably cold out there!."
"Although we never heard him, as we arrived at the Francis Colliery, the Coastguard advised us that the Captain of a large ship "The Odyssey" at anchor in Kirkcaldy Bay had reported that the vessel had tied up to him, however the skipper had no radio, mobile phone or compass to enable him to make his own way back to the harbour. We contacted the fisherman and led him into West Wemyss Harbour as he was totally disorientated by the prevailing conditions and we eventually arrived back at Kinghorn around 2pm where a welcoming hot cuppa was waiting for us."
Mike added" I would advise anyone contemplating going out on the sea in this kind of weather to make sure they have at least a compass to navigate by, as it was even difficult for an experienced crew such as I had, to navigate without the use of our GPS and compass system, and without it we would likely have been disorientated as well. I would always advise carrying flares and some means of communication, as you never know when you may break down or require the assistance of the Coastguard."
The other crew involved in the rescue were Steve Currie and Joanne Wibberly. Shore Crew were Paul Wibberly and Billy McAndrew.