Dozens of Dinghies Capsize as "Mini-Hurricane" Hits Northern Ireland
Described by locals as a "mini hurricane", the Exe Sails GP14 World Championships regatta in Northern Ireland was hit by a brutal change in weather yesterday, leaving a number of dinghies capsized and ten people injured.
As the storm hit, just before 2pm, around a dozen vessels were overturned. Some competitors were able to swim to the shore, while other sailors had to tread water until rescued. When the 60mph hit Strangford Lough in County Down, around 200 people were in the water.
The rescue involved two RNLI lifeboats, two police helicopters, one Sea King helicopter from RAF Valley on Anglesey, and one Irish Coastguard helicopter from Dublin. It was initially thought that there may have been a number of serious injuries. However, just one unfortunate sailor suffered a head injury, while others were taken to hospital and treated for hypothermia. Of the ten injured, just two had to be airlifted to hospital. All sailors were quickly accounted for, but searches continued for some time to be safe. Ambulance crews also quickly erected emergency tents around the shore.
Co Down yacht club, the organisers of the Exe Sails GP14 2014 World Championship have since defended their decision to have sent competitors out to race yesterday. Despite yesterday’s disaster, races are still scheduled to continue until Friday.
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Image Credit: Belfast Telegraph
Article by Jack Bartrop