NEGOTIATIONS SAVE LIFE
The RNLI lifeboat at Kinghorn saved a man in the water off Portobello tonight (30/05/09) .
The volunteer crew were paged by Coastguard around 7pm to attend a report of two men in the water off Portobello.
Helmsman Scott McIlravie described the incident, "As we arrived at Portobello, we saw that one of the two men reported in the water was in fact a windsurfer who was keeping an eye on another man who was in quite deep water and quite far out from the shore. The man appeared drunk and was being aggressive to us, preventing himself from being rescued. We tried to talk to the guy and calm him down and try to get him aboard, but he wasn't having any of it."
Continuing, he said," It was obvious that he had been in the water for some time and appeared to be suffering from hypothermia. Luckily there were Police on the shore, who appeared to know the man and one was a negotiator, so he was suited up and we brought him aboard the lifeboat to continue negotiations with the man. A Helicopter also arrived and landed on the beach whilst the Policeman was trying to get the man to allow us to bring him on board. I was advised that the man had been in the water for almost two hours and could see that the hypothermia was becoming severe. A Paramedic was on standby ashore with the Helicopter."
"Eventually the man relented and we were able to bring him on board, however as we set the lifeboat ashore the man started to fit and the paramedic confirmed that his systems were starting to crash due to the Hypothermia. We had a real emergency and ferried the casualty and the Paramedic to the Helicopter, as he was so big, we had to deflate the side of the boat to allow him to be carried into the Helicopter. The Paramedic stated that the man had a 50/50 chance of survival, given his current stats and was airlifted to Hospital as any further delay could have meant death."
Coastguard sources later confirmed that the man was responding to treatment and was being detained in hospital and the Police were dealing with the matter.
Other crewman involved in the rescue were Brian Paton, Luke Williams and shore Crew, Norman Soutar.