A man and a woman are recovering this evening after they were found with their sailing dinghy on Loch Bracadale.
Stornoway Coastguard were contacted by Falmouth Coastguard at 9.20 pm this evening to report that a personal locator beacon (PLB) was transmitting from a position in the Isle of Skye area. Stornoway Coastguard made some enquiries and discovered that the PLB belonged to a 49-year old local man. They spoke to his father who told them that his son was an experienced kayaker. A short while later the husband of a woman made a 999 call to the Coastguard reporting that his wife, who had gone out dinghy sailing with a friend in the same area had not returned and he was concerned for her safety.
Whilst the Coastguard pieced all of this information together, they also scrambled the Stornoway Coastguard helicopter and requested the launch of the Mallaig RNLI lifeboat. They also discussed the incident with the Dunvegan Coastguard Rescue Team, who reported that one of their members had seen the dinghy in question earlier in the evening. The team were therefore sent to spot the vessel from the shore. A police officer from Portree Police also attended the scene.
Due to the locator beacon, the helicopter and lifeboat were able to find the pair with ease. They had been sailing a wayfarer sailing dinghy which had capsized and had problems with its sails. When the helicopter arrived they were attempting to row the dinghy to shore. The helicopter airlifted the pair to Broadford Hospital landing site. They were then taken on to hospital where they were treated for mild hypothermia.
Carol Collins, Stornoway Coastguard Watch Manager says..."It is unusual for us to receive personal locator beacon hits, but in this case, this was the ideal piece of communications equipment for these people to be carrying. It meant that we were able to locate them swiftly and ensure that we got the right help to them quickly".