Press release

Strangford Lough dinghy racing hit by stormy weather

More than 200 people have returned to shore after 87 sailing dinghies were hit by stormy weather in Strangford Lough.

Coastguard coordination centre

Belfast Coastguard was first contacted just before 2pm on Monday 11 August 2014 reporting that some of the boats had capsized, while others were struggling to cope in the strong winds and squally showers.

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 sent to the scene, along with PSNI and ambulance crews.

10 people were injured, with some of them showing signs of hypothermia.

Liam Colquhoun, Watch Manager at Belfast Coastguard, said:

After a thorough search of the area, our rescue units on scene were confident that everyone had safely returned to shore and that no one was missing.

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

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

Maritime and Coastguard Agency press office

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Published 12 August 2014