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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution - Saves Lives at Sea

LIFEBOAT CREWS FROM THREE SCOTTISH STATIONS IN LATE NIGHT SEARCH FOR MISSING CANOEIST

10/10/2011

By Richard Smith, RNLI Divisional Media Relation Manager

Three lifeboat stations were involved in a late night search lasting several hours for a missing canoeist near Edinburgh.

Crews were called out from Queensferry, Kinghorn and Anstruther after reports that two canoeists and two swimmers were in difficulty on the Firth of Forth near Granton last night, Sunday 9 October.

The search developed into a major incident with help also required from coastguard rescue teams, an RAF rescue helicopter from Boulmer, Lothian and Borders Police, the Fire Brigade and the Scottish Ambulance Service.

Three people were found safely, however the RAF helicopter had to take one of the canoeists to hospital in Edinburgh after he was found at about 2am. He was pronounced dead on arrival.

The first call out was for Queensferry at 10.30pm last night to the Silverknowes area. The volunteer crew discovered that emergency services were directing lights on to the water in a bid to locate the group of people.

One swimmer had managed to get ashore and was checked over by the ambulance crew. Another swimmer also managed to reach shore safely and one of the coastguard rescue teams found a canoeist at just before 11pm, leaving the lifeboat crew and the emergency services to search for the missing fourth person.

Volunteers from the RNLI at Kinghorn were then drafted into the search, being alerted at 11.10pm.

The Queensferry crew, which changed crew members at 1.30am, were using sodium lights and six paraflares in an attempt to find the missing canoeist.

The volunteer crew from Anstruther was asked to join the search after 1.30am.

Neil Chalmers, a crew member from Kinghorn, was alerted to the search and he was a member of the crew waiting to relieve the first crew from Kinghorn.

Neil said, ‘The Kinghorn crew found a paddle in the water and shortly after that the rescue helicopter found the missing person. This was a distressing incident which involved a big search for the RNLI’s volunteer crews.’