Race yachts capsized after being hit by storm

More than 200 sailors have returned safely to shore after a fleet of yachts racing on Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland were hit by a storm.

 

A total of 87 yachts were taking part in the GP14 world championship races from East Down Yacht Club, with several being overturned following the bad weather earlier this afternoon.

A rescue operation was quickly underway to help those involved, including children, and Ulster Hospital in Belfast declared a major incident.

Belfast Coastguard said the sailing dinghies were hit by a sudden squall amid 60mph winds. 20 sailors ended up in the water with 10 of them suffering injuries, most showing signs of hypothermia.

The Bangor and Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Teams, the Portaferry and Newcastle RNLI lifeboats, the Irish Coast Guard helicopter along with the helicopter from RAF Valley were all sent to the scene around 2pm and everyone has now been accounted for.

Belfast Coastguard watch manager Liam Colquhoun, said: “We have now been told by our rescue units on scene that everyone has safely returned to shore and that no one is missing.

“We believe 20 people ended up in the water after their boats capsized this afternoon, 10 of them requiring medical attention.”

“The weather conditions on scene have been pretty treacherous, with winds gusting up to 60mph. We’re very thankful that everyone has now returned to shore safe and well.”

 
See full article at Yachting & Boating World – click here

 

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