6 PEOPLE (and dog) RESCUED FROM ROCKS: A spokesperson for the Coleraine Coastguard said “Just after 0130 this morning, Belfast Coastguard received a 999 call from a family group trapped on rocks west of Portballintrae.
A full scale rescue operation was launched, involving Coastguard teams from Coleraine and Ballycastle, along with Coastguard helicopter Rescue 199, which had just finished a tasking elsewhere. The trapped party had been exploring an area of the coastline which was well known to them, but had been caught out by the rising tide. After waiting for three hours to see if the tide would recede, they used the 999 system to call for Coastguard assistance.
In an effort to stay warm, they had built a fire near the base of the cliffs.
The trapped party was quickly located by the Coastguard teams and their position was passed to the helicopter. A CG winchman was lowered to assess the situation and extinguish the fire, before the helicopter carefully manoeuvred and landed on the outcrop. All six casualties plus dog were then airlifted to the cliff top and given into the care of Coastguard personnel.
There were no injuries, though one of the party had got wet trying to wade unsuccessfully to safety at the start of the incident. All were very thankful for Coastguard assistance and were taken home to recover from their ordeal.”