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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 January 2008, 16:10 GMT
2m lifeboat's rescue called off
They have been assisted by a Garda rescue helicopter.
They have been assisted by a Garda rescue helicopter
An operation to free a 2m lifeboat, stranded on rocks at Rathlin Island, has been called off for the day.

The Portrush lifeboat got into difficulty while attempting to rescue three people whose boat was in danger.

After several attempts to throw a line to the stricken boat, the RNLB Katie Hannan was forced onto rocks by a heavy swell at 2000 GMT on Tuesday.

Despite the efforts of a fishing vessel and the Larne lifeboat, the stranded lifeboat could not be moved.

The three people who the lifeboat had gone to assist were rescued by the Rathlin Island Coastguard crew.

Two of the lifeboat crew on the Katie Hannan were thrown into the water from its small inflatable rescue boat after assisting in the attempts to refloat the boat. They managed to climb onto nearby rocks.

Inspector of Lifeboats for RNLI Ireland Colin Williams said a serious tragedy had been averted.

"The Larne lifeboat crew, helped by local fishermen from Ballycastle struggled for several hours in very difficult sea conditions to attempt to refloat the Portrush Lifeboat," he said.

"The Rathlin Island Coastguard team greatly assisted rescue efforts from ashore and the operation was efficiently co-ordinated by Belfast HM Coastguard."

The RNLI said they would attempt to refloat the vessel later on Wednesday.

They have been assisted by a Garda rescue helicopter.

The first attempt to rescue the boat

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