Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Monday, 17 May 2010 13:38 UK

Pair rescued from sea at Portrush

Fishing boat towed by lifeboat
The Portrush lifeboat towed the cruiser back to Ballycastle

Two people have been rescued from the sea at Portrush after becoming caught in the riptide off West Strand.

A member of the public heard them shouting for help at about 0920 BST on Sunday and made a 999 call.

The pair, who had thought they saw a dog struggling to get ashore, were rescued by the Portrush lifeboat. It is understood both had been drinking.

However the family of one of the men said he had not been drinking and had rescued the dog from some rocks.

Meanwhile, a fisherman was rescued from the sea at Portrush on Sunday after getting into difficulties.

He was attempting to retrieve an anchor when he was caught by a wave and pulled into the water.

Two people onboard the 16-foot fishing boat made a mayday call at about 0920 BST on Sunday from about half a mile east of Ballintoy harbour.

There's no doubt in my mind that if the boat hadn't got there when it did, they would have perished
Robin Cardwell
Portrush lifeboat

A rescue helicopter was scrambled from Prestwick in Scotland but it returned to base after his colleagues managed to bring him to safety.

He was said to be very cold but had no visible injuries, the Belfast Coastguard said.

The boat was left without power because a rope was caught around its propeller, and a lifeboat towed it to Ballycastle.

Portrush lifeboat operations manager Robin Cardwell said the two men involved in the rescue on Sunday morning were lucky to be alive.

He said that when the lifeboat arrived, they were both about 40 metres from shore and had drifted about 100 metres apart.

"One of them managed to keep afloat while the other was more or less lying on top of the water," he said.

Mr Cardwell said that when they were brought on to the lifeboat, they were violently sick and showing signs of hypothermia.

"We got them into the boathouse and by that stage an ambulance had arrived. They weren't saying a lot and they were sick in the boathouse as well," he said.

"There's no doubt in my mind that if the boat hadn't got there when it did, they would have perished."

He said there was no sign of any dog in the water.

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