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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 December 2007, 15:40 GMT
Race abandoned due to large waves
Strangford Lough
Five people were unaccounted for at one stage
Large waves have forced a kayak race on Strangford Lough, County Down, to be abandoned.

A one stage five participants in the race from Portaferry to Ards Sailing Club were unaccounted for.

Three people had to be rescued and around forty kayakers brought ashore in the safety scare.

Belfast Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre said "limited safety cover and bad weather conditions left many taking part in the race in difficulty".

"Safety cover was initially going to be provided for this race by several rescue boats that, due to engine failure could not attend, leaving only the Portaferry RNLI lifeboat as an escort, " added the centre's Alan Pritchard.

"As has been shown today, this is not adequate resources for an event like this, and we would advise any kayakers going out in large groups to ensure they have sufficient safety cover should they run into difficulties."

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