Log for 2009
Information for these pages is sourced from WestWord, local newspaper for West Lochaber
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Thursday 1st January:
Mallaig Lifeboat was initially requested to launch at 23.50 hrs on the 31st December to convey police officers to the Isle of Eigg to investigate reports of an affray. This call out was stood down at 00.45 hrs as the matter had been brought under (local) control.
On 1st January 2009 at 11.00 hrs, Northern Constabulary contacted HM Coastguard requesting Lifeboat assistance at noon to convey two police officers to Eigg to remove the individual who had been causing trouble the previous night. So with a cloudless clear sky, excellent visibility and calm sea, the Mallaig Lifeboat departed at 1200 hrs and proceeded to Eigg with two police officers on board. Arriving at Eigg at 12.45 hrs, Lifeboat Mechanic D. McDonell, acting as police driver, set off with the policemen in a local resident's vehicle to the other side of the island, where the police arrested the individual involved in the previous evening's incident. Mallaig Lifeboat returned to port at 14.30 hrs, was refuelled and made ready for service at 14.45 hrs.
Saturday 21st February:
Stornoway Coastguard received a 999 call asking for assistance with the transfer of a pregnant woman in the early stages of labour from Inverie to Mallaig.
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 20.05 and proceeded to Inverie, arriving there at 20.19. Patient was transferred onto the Lifeboat which returned to Mallaig Harbour where an ambulance was waiting to take the patient to the Belford Hospital, Fort William. Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 21.14hrs.
Wednesday 25th February:
Lifeboat launched at 12.47 to assist a kayaker who had capsized in Glenuig Bay. A colleague had reported that the casualty was having difficulty reboarding his kayak. Fortunately, the wind and tide carried the casualty and his craft to the shore and they were none the worse for their ordeal, so did not need any further assistance. Lifeboat stood down at 12.57 and returned to pontoon at Mallaig Harbour at 13.08.
Monday 6th April:
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 0400 hrs to assist Ambulance Crew remove an unconscious fisherman from the Lerwick registered but Mallaig based prawn trawler Contest, berthed in Mallaig Harbour. The fishing boat crew had realised that he was missing, found him in the water beside the vessel and phoned for assistance.
On arrival at the fishing vessel, the lifeboat crew transferred a stretcher aboard and the casualty, who had been lifted back on board, was transferred on the stretcher back to the Lifeboat and subsequently taken ashore via the Lifeboat pontoon to the waiting ambulance.
Two crew members travelled with the ambulance to give assistance with CPR, but sadly the fisherman was declared dead on arrival at the Belford Hospital.
Wednesday 15th April:
It was a beautiful starlit night when the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 22.13 hrs to go to the assistance of the Oban registered trawler Sonas, which was unable to move due to its net fouling its propeller. On arrival at the scene — the west end of Soay Sound fishing grounds - some 55 minutes later, a tow rope was passed to the stricken fishing vessel, and a steady 6.5 knots were maintained on the return to Mallaig Harbour. Once at the harbour entrance, the Sonas was strapped alongside the Lifeboat and berthed alongside the Harbour quay at 02.30hrs on the 16th April.
Wednesday 29th April:
Launched at 15.26hrs at the request of HM Coastguard, the Mallaig Lifeboat set course for the east side of Eigg where the 12 metre vessel Wave had suffered complete engine failure. Arriving on scene at 16.02hrs, a tow rope was passed over to the Wave and the Lifeboat proceeded to tow the Isle of Muck ferry craft towards Arisaig Harbour. Due to the low spring tide, the Lifeboat could not complete the tow into Arisaig but the Wave was securely moored at Rhu Pier and awaited the passenger vessel Sheerwater, which ensured that it was safely guided into Arisaig Harbour.
The Lifeboat subsequently returned to Mallaig and was refuelled, ready for service at 17.25hrs.
Wednesday 27th May:
At the request of the Stornoway Coastguard, the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 10.56 hrs to go to the assistance of the Hull registered trawler Vikingborg, whose net had fouled her propeller. Despite the best efforts of the fishermen, they were unable to free the net, hence the call for assistance. Arriving on scene at 11.30, the Lifeboat crew secured a tow rope onto the fishing boat and at a steady 6.5 knots the Vikingborg was towed to Mallaig Harbour, arriving there at 1400 hrs.
Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 14.15hrs.
Tuesday 2nd June:
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at the request of the Coastguard to assist the crew of the yacht Kea, unable to engage ahead or astern propulsion on their engine. Launched at 13.30, the Lifeboat soon got the 13 metre Kea securely strapped alongside and towed into Mallaig Harbour, where local engineers were waiting to investigate their problem. Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 14.15 hrs.
Wednesday 10th June:
Stornoway Coastguard requested the Mallaig Lifeboat to go to the assistance of a 4.5m RIB which had run aground at Loch Bracadale. The Lifeboat was launched at 10.37hrs but prior to arriving on the scene a fishing vessel went to the aid of the casualty, pulling him clear of his grounding. Lifeboat stood down and returned to service, refuelled and ready by 12.55 hrs.
Wednesday 10th June:
Good visibility with a moderate breeze were the weather conditions at 18.20 hrs when the Lifeboat was launched to go to the aid of the 10 metre yacht Pinjarra, reportedly aground after hitting a rock in Loch Moidart. The vessel got off the rocks by jettisoning its ½ tonne fresh water supply, but when members of the Lifeboat crew went on board to-check for water ingress they found that the Pinjarra was taking in water. After a salvage pump was put aboard with two crew personnel, the yacht was safely escorted to Arisaig Harbour to await further inspection. Lifeboat arrived back on station at 22.45 hrs.
Thursday 11th June:
Lifeboat launched at 18.17 hrs at the request of HM Coastguard to assist the 12 metre trawler Our Catherine, taking in water 2 miles NW of Sleat Point. Arriving on scene at 18.53 hrs, the Lifeboat transferred water pump and one member of crew on board Our Catherine which was pumped dry. Once pump and Lifeboat personnel were back on board, the Lifeboat escorted the trawler 2 miles NE of Sleat Point, at which time the skipper of the boat was confident to proceed on passage to Kyle. Lifeboat returned to Mallaig, was refuelled and ready for service at 21.00 hrs.
Friday 12th June:
Light breeze, good visibility, clear sky, were the weather conditions pertaining at the time (16.10 hrs) the Mallaig Lifeboat, tasked by HM Coastguard, was launched to assist a small pleasure craft with engine problems in the Sound of Sleat. Arriving on scene at 16.23 the Lifeboat secured tow to the small vessel and towed it to Mallaig Harbour, arriving 16.48 hrs.
Tuesday 16th June:
The launch of the Henry Alston Hewat was requested by HM Coastguard at 03.49 hrs. The Fraserburgh registered fishing boat Primrose had grounded at the entrance of the North Channel at Arisaig, and when they arrived at the scene (04.11) the fishing trawler was found to have settled on the reef and was stuck fast on the falling tide. On inspection a small hole was found in the engine room and, using a broom handle and a plastic glove, a plug was improvised to reduce the ingress of water. The salvage pump was used to dry out all the compartments and, with weather calm and sunny and the boat now firmly settled, it was decided to remove everyone and return to Mallaig and await the flood tide. At 08.00 hrs the Lifeboat returned to the scene and boarded the skipper and two lifeboat crew onto the Primrose. Three hours later, with sufficient water underneath and a gentle pull from the Lifeboat, the Primrose floated clear and with the repair holding well the trawler was able to make Mallaig Harbour under her own power.
Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 12.26 hrs.
Thursday 25th June:
Tasked by HM Coastguard at 20.26 hrs to proceed to Inverie to Medivac an injured female who had sustained a head injury, the Mallaig Lifeboat arrived at Inverie at 21.05 hrs and picked up the casualty, who had been given preliminary first aid at the Old Forge. On return to Mallaig, the patient was transferred to the waiting ambulance and taken to the Belford Hospital in Fort William.
Lifeboat back on service at 21.52 hrs.
Monday 20th July:
Launched at 17.26 to a report of a shape which looked like an upturned hull in the water at Faskadale buoy. En route it was confirmed that it was the upturned hull of a fishing vessel, the Maryport registered scallop dredger Aquila. On arrival at scene at 18.15, the hull was observed but no other debris. The Lifeboat then proceeded to search downwind towards a yacht which had recovered a man from the water. As the Coastguard helicopter could not winch the survivor from the yacht because of the rough sea state, the Y-boat was sent in to recover him to the lifeboat so he could get lifted safely from there.
The search for the three remaining missing crewmen continued, with the helicopter recovering two bodies and the lifeboat the third. The bodies were flown to Broadford Hospital in Skye and the survivor airlifted to the Belford Hospital in Fort William.
Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 22.20 hrs.
Monday 20th July:
Barely 15 minutes from standing down from the previous 'shout', the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched again at 22.35 to search for an overdue fisherman who had gone out earlier in the day in his small inflatable to haul some creels. He had last been seen at 1400 hrs at Goat Island, Lochailort, so on arrival on scene (23.05) the Lifeboat proceeded to search around Goat Island, then the south shore of the Ardnish Peninsula. The casualty was found near the bothy after lighting a signal fire. He was subsequently taken to Glenuig and the waiting Coastguard personnel.
Lifeboat returned to Mallaig base, refuelled and ready for service at 01.30 hrs on Tuesday 21st July.
Sunday 26th July:
At the request of HM Coastguard in Stornoway, the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 23.14 hrs to medivac an angler from Inverie. The angler had suffered an injury from a fish hook which had become embedded in his right index finger. On scene at 23.55 hrs, the Lifeboat picked up the casualty from Inverie Pier then returned to Mallaig, handing over the injured angler to the waiting ambulance personnel.
Tuesday 28th July:
Good visibility, fresh breeze and moderate/choppy sea state were the conditions prevalent at 19.18 hrs when HM Coastguard requested the launch of the Mallaig Lifeboat to go to the assistance of a grounded catamaran which was on the rocks in the Bunacaimbe area of the Arisaig coastline. Just as the Lifeboat approached the area, HM Coastguard was told that a RIB had managed to pull the casualty off the rocks, then beach the craft along with its crew at Bunacaimbe beach, where local Coastguards were in attendance. Lifeboat subsequently stood down at 19.42 hrs and returned to Mallaig, on station at 20.15 hrs.
Thursday 30th July:
Mal1aig Lifeboat Henry Alston Hewat was launched at 03.48 hrs to investigate a possible flare sighting in the Arisaig/Rhu area. Arriving at the entrance to Arisaig Harbour at 04.29 hrs, the area was searched and this continued as far south as Loch Kintra, but nothing untoward was found.
Lifeboat stood down at 05.23 and was refuelled and ready for service at 06.23 hrs.
Monday 3rd August:
Lifeboat launched at 09.18 hrs when requested by HM Coastguard to go to the assistance of a yacht which was in danger of going ashore due to fouled propeller and rudder. The stricken yacht, Evergreen, was in trouble on the north side of Muck, but fortunately another yacht, Hot Toddy, was in the vicinity and was able to tow Evergreen to open water. On arrival at scene at 10.15 hrs, the tow was transferred to the Lifeboat and course was set for Arisaig Harbour, which they reached safely at 13.02 hrs.
Mallaig Lifeboat returned to base and was refuelled and ready for service at 1400
Tuesday 4th August:
Following a launch request from Stornoway Coastguard, Mallaig Lifeboat departed the pontoon at 14.05 hrs in a moderate breeze, heading to the assistance of the 10m yacht Emma Louise located 5 miles west of the Isle of Muck and experiencing engine problems. On arrival at scene at 14.55 hrs, one of the Lifeboat crew was transferred onto the Emma Louise to assist the lone yachtsman during the tow back to Mallaig. Arriving at Mallaig at 18.30, the yacht was safely berthed to await an engineer's visit with Mallaig Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 18.45 hrs.
Friday 7th August:
Cloudless clear sky, light winds and excellent visibility were the weather conditions when Mallaig lifeboat was launched to investigate the sighting of wreckage reported by the yacht Spellbinder at the mouth of Loch Hourn. On arrival at the scene, the wreckage was found to be 300 ft of fish farm feeder pipe. As it was considered to be a hazard to navigation, the length of pipe was towed to Mallaig for disposal.
Lifeboat back on call at 13.10hrs, one hour and twenty-one minutes after its departure.
Friday 28th August:
The weather conditions were not so kind for this call out by Stornoway Coastguard who requested lifeboat assistance for the 12 metre landing craft Meri 3 at 19.54hrs. The craft's steering had failed soon after leaving Mallaig Harbour and the vessel was in danger of being blown ashore in the force 5/6 winds. It being a twin engined vessel, the skipper of the Meri 3 was able to manoeuvre the the boat out to the mouth of Loch Nevis, clear of immediate danger. When the Lifeboat arrived on scene the the Meri 3, with seven persons on board, was found drifting on her broadside in the stiff westerly breeze. The tow was quickly established and a course set for Inverie Pier where the Meri 3 was eventually safely berthed. With the grateful thanks of the passengers and many photos being taken, the Lifeboat returned to Mallaig, arriving at 21.57hrs.
Saturday 29th August:
With the lifeboat crew and station personnel winding down as the Lifeboat Gala Day headed to a close, the Lifeboat was called out at 15.50hrs by the Coastguard to seek out two exhausted kayakers in trouble in Loch Slapin. On passage to this area, it was reported that Stornoway Rescue Helicopter had located and airlifted the casualties to Broadford Hospital for medical assistance. Mallaig Lifeboat stood down and returned to harbour at 16.30hrs, leaving the crew free to enjoy the culmination of their Gala Day, the fund raising dance in the Mallaig & Morar Community Centre.
Tuesday 1st September:
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 1300 hrs to stand by the 12 metre yacht Harmony which had gone aground after dragging its anchor at Canna, during the early hours of the morning. The yacht refloated on the rising tide but was found to be taking in water. Mallaig Lifeboat escorted the vessel into Mallaig Harbour, arriving there at 1800 hrs.
Wednesday 30th September:
Lifeboat launched at 1500 hrs to go to the assistance of a windsurfer in difficulties off Portnadoran, Arisaig. The Lifeboat was stood down 10 minutes after call out as the windsurfer had managed to reach the safety of the shore. Lifeboat refuelled, ready for service at 15.24 hrs.
Friday 2nd October: Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 21.02 hours following a request
from the Stornoway Coastguard to assist in the search for a missing 83 year old male
who was last seen walking along a path near the Kinloch Lodge Hotel on Sleat,
Skye, at 15.30 hrs but who had failed to return later in the evening. On arrival at the scene at 21.20hrs and with weather conditions
southerly force 7-8, the Lifeboat was asked to search the shoreline from Kinloch
Lodge Hotel, Loch na Dol, northwards for any sign of the casualty. Illumination
flares were fired and searchlights used but with driving rain and reduced visibility
the search was called off at 23.00 hrs and the Lifeboat, along with the other
Emergency Services (Coastguard Helicopter, Coastguard Shore Team, Kyle
Lifeboat, Police & Mountain Rescue Team) stood down.
Lifeboat returned to Mallaig, being refuelled and ready for service at 2350 hrs.
Monday 12th October:
Lifeboat launched at 08.00 hrs to convey two police officers and local undertaker to the Isle of Muck to investigate a sudden infant death. After police had concluded their investigations, the undertaker removed the child's remains to the lifeboat for the journey back to Mallaig. Lifeboat arrived back in Mallaig at 1615 hrs where the child's remains were transferred to a private ambulance for the transportation to Inverness for post mortem examination.
Lifeboat ready for service at 16.41 hrs.
Monday 26th October:
At Stornoway Coastguard's request the lifeboat was launched at 15.08 to medivac a 14 year old boy from Inverie who had fallen from a landrover, taking his full weight on his arms and damaging both wrists. Prior to the Lifeboat's anival on scene (20 minutes) an ambulance technician from Wales, who was holidaying in the area, comforted the youth and strapped one of his arms in a splint from his own first aid kit. On arrival, the lifeboat crew placed a splint on the youth's arm and administered pain relief. After being made comfortable, the youngster was able to walk, somewhat shakily, on board the Lifeboat with his parents for the journey to Mallaig and the waiting ambulance to take them to the Belford Hospital, Fort William. Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 16.02 hrs.
Monday 16th November:
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 14.28 hrs to medivac a female walker who had fallen whilst walking in Inverie and was suffering from a suspected broken leg. On board the Lifeboat were local ambulance personnel. On arrival at Inverie, a local resident conveyed the medics up a forest track by landrover to where the casualty was located. On scene, casualty was tended to and her leg put in a splint before being stretchered into the landrover and taken to the waiting lifeboat for onward transportation back to Mallaig, from where a waiting ambulance took her to the Belford Hospital in Fort William.
Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 15.38 hrs.
Saturday 21st November:
At the request of Stornoway Coastguard, Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 16.20 hrs to go to the assistance of two divers, overdue from a scallop diving trip in the Rhu area of Arisaig. Strong squalls and driving rain were encountered by the lifeboat as it headed south, but on arrival at Arisaig Estuary and in the lee of the Rhu Peninsula, the weather conditions eased.
Once near the reported location, a white paraflare was fired to illuminate the area and the lifeboat’s Y-boat was launched to search among the rocks. With the aid of night vision glasses, the casualties were spotted on the shore and the lifeboat directed the Y-boat to their exact location.
Five minutes later, both divers were in their dinghy (its engine had failed) and under tow to the Old Slip at Rhu road end.
With crew and Y-boat safely back on board, Mallaig Lifeboat returned to Station, refuelled and ready for service at 18.12 hrs.
While the Mallaig Lifeboat, Henry Alston Hewat, was off station and in the Clyde for a refit, the relief vessel, the Severn Class Fraser Flyer, was called out on two occasions.
Wednesday 2nd December:
Mallaig Lifeboat launched at 16.45 hours, requested by HM Coastguard in Stornoway, to go to the assistance of the fishing vessel Quo Vardis, experiencing problems with its engine fuel supply. The 10 metre creel boat was fishing at the SE end of Eigg and the skipper’s broadcast to the Coastguard for assistance was heard by the local fishing boat Azalea which was close by. Azalea offered to tow Quo Vardis back to Mallaig, thus releasing the Lifeboat to return to port.
Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 18.00 hrs.
Azalea and Quo Vardis docked alongside Mallaig Pier at 19.30 hrs.
Monday 21st December:
At the request of Stornoway Coastguard, the Mallaig Lifeboat was launched at 23.44 hrs on a clear and very frosty night, to medivac a 63 year old male resident from Inverie. On arrival at Inverie Jetty (midnight) the casualty, not at all well, was quickly brought aboard and Lifeboat departed at 00.05hrs, arriving at the Mallaig Pontoon at 00.30hrs. The casualty was then transferred to the waiting ambulance for onward transportation to the Belford Hospital in Fort William.
Lifeboat refuelled and ready for service at 00.40hrs.
Mallaig Lifeboat was called into action on 33 occasions during 2009. This compares to 27 call outs in 2008 and 29 in 2007.
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