Portrush inshore lifeboat was launched last night (Tuesday 2nd May) at 5.45pm to reports of a dog that had fallen into the water at the Whiterocks.
This launch however was different in that it saw a series of firsts for the crew and operations team on duty.
What was unique about this shout was the number of firsts that happened. Firstly it was the new Lifeboat Operations Manager, Keith Gilmore’s, first official shout. Not that Keith is a stranger to the station as he has been a crew member and a Deputy Launching Authority at the station before taking over at midnight on 2nd May from the previous post holder Robin Cardwell.
The second ‘first’ that occurred was Johnny Weston’s first shout as helm of the Inshore Lifeboat. Johnny is a long-time member of crew, and relished his first shout as helm.
The third ‘first’ belonged to female crew member Hannah Ritchie. Hannah had been on ‘shouts’ before but the lifeboat had always been stood down before they left the harbour, this time Hannah got her chance and to top it all it she was along with her Dad, crew member Stevie Ritchie.
Sadly despite the best efforts of the lifeboat crew the dog did not survive the ordeal and the lifeboat crew carefully recovered it and returned it to its owner.
Portrush RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Keith Gilmore said: ‘The RNLI will always respond to reports of a dog in the sea. Also where there is a dog there is a potential owner who will risk their own safety to rescue their dog. Unfortunately this story did not have a happy ending and we would remind all dog owners to keep dogs on a lead when walking along cliff paths.’
The lifeboat and the crew returned to station at 6.15pm