Page last updated at 08:47 GMT, Thursday, 6 August 2009 09:47 UK

Thirty rescued from sea in storm

Rescue on Loch Carron
A picture of the scene taken from Kyle of Lochalsh lifeboat

Thirty competitors in a sailing regatta off the west coast of Scotland had to be rescued after a squall overturned their boats.

Coastguard, lifeboat and helicopter crews were scrambled at about 1845 BST on Wednesday after bad weather hit the event, off Plockton in Wester Ross.

Regatta organisers said all those thrown into Loch Carron were accounted for by 2015 BST.

Stornoway Coastguard later said none of them needed medical attention.

The race was due to be re-run.

Fourteen boats were struck by the squall.

People assume that the weather in the summer is going to be fairly benign but these sudden squalls come through, which are not uncommon, and people quite frequently get caught out
Angus Murray
Stornoway coastguard

Some competitors were pulled from the water by crews on the race's two rescue boats, before coastguard teams from Portree, Kyle and Broadford reached the scene.

Angus Murray, of Stornoway Coastguard, told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme the rescue had gone "very smoothly".

He said: "The main thing was that there were 30 people in the water which is a considerable amount of people requiring a lot of resources if things did go wrong.

"Fortunately, things worked out fine."

Mr Murray said conditions before the incident had been "moderate and not severe by any means" but added that there had been a sudden squall.

"People assume that the weather in the summer is going to be fairly benign but these sudden squalls come through, which are not uncommon, and people quite frequently get caught out," he said.

He added that the race participants had all been wearing lifejackets and were being accompanied by two rescue boats which got many of the people out of the water.

Mr Murray stressed the importance of organisers having an action plan in case things go wrong.

One of his colleagues said that due to the safety precautions in place "this unpleasant incident didn't end in tragedy".



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