Lifeboat dra­mas

The Oban Times - - Front Page -

OBAN’S vol­un­teer lifeboat crew had their busiest day of the year to date at the week­end, with three call-outs and a ma­jor ex­er­cise

A MA­JOR multi-agency emer­gency ex­er­cise took place at Oban Air­port on Satur­day – only to be over­taken by real-life in­ci­dents for the town’s lifeboat.

Mem­bers of the emer­gency ser­vices were at the air­port and in the sea nearby to test emer­gency re­sponses, as was re­quired by the Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity and the Civil Con­tin­gen­cies Act.

But it was a busy day for real for the RNLI team with three sep­a­rate in­ci­dents on what turned out to be the lifeboat’s busiest day of the year so far.

The day be­gan at around 10am with the multi-agency ex­er­cise sim­u­lat­ing a crashed air­craft. The Mora Edith MacDon­ald re­turned to sta­tion at just be­fore noon only for Stornoway Coast­guard to re­quest, an hour later, the lifeboat to ren­dezvous with Tober­mory lifeboat El­iz­a­beth Fair­lie Ram­sey in Loch Aline.

Two divers had made a rapid as­cent while div­ing near Calve Is­land close to Tober­mory.

They were sus­pected of suf­fer­ing from de­com­pres­sion sick­ness, or the bends.

The divers were to be trans­ferred to Oban lifeboat, which would then take them for treat­ment.

The Mora Edith MacDon­ald was along­side the pon­toons in Loch Aline at 1.45pm await­ing the ar­rival of Tober­mory lifeboat when Stornoway Coast­guard re­quested Oban lifeboat depart the loch for Fort Wil­liam where a pas­sen­ger ves­sel had re­ported a sus­pected fire in its en­gine room.

Tober­mory lifeboat took the two divers into Oban and trans­ferred them to a wait­ing am­bu­lance.

Mean­while, the Oban ves­sel was trav­el­ling at full speed to­wards Fort Wil­liam but, for­tu­nately, the ves­sel had man­aged to make its own way back and was met by Fort Wil­liam Coast Res­cue Team and the fire ser­vice. Oban lifeboat started to re­turn to Oban by 2.30pm but 15 min­utes af­ter be­ing stood down was tasked once again by Stornoway Coast­guard to re­spond to a may­day call.

A three-me­tre in­flat­able ves­sel with two peo­ple on board was strug­gling in ad­verse weather con­di­tions one mile south of the Isle of Ker­rera.

Stornoway Coast­guard also tasked Tober­mory lifeboat and broad­cast a may­day re­lay re­sult­ing in two CalMac fer­ries also di­vert­ing to the scene, along with sev­eral pri­vate ves­sels.

The two peo­ple were re­cov­ered to Tober­mory lifeboat at 3.05pm but were trans­ferred to Oban lifeboat shortly af­ter­wards.

It then took the two peo­ple and their boat to Eas­dale where they were able to make their way to shore.

Oban lifeboat then re­turned to sta­tion and was ready for ser­vice again at 5.15pm.

The three call-outs to­talled 60 nau­ti­cal miles and more than four hours at sea for the vol­un­teer crew.

The Oban lifeboat crew take part in the air­port train­ing ex­er­cise, which saw the com­bined emer­gency ser­vices re­spond to a sim­u­lated plane crash.

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