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Wednesday, 1 November, 2000, 11:35 GMT
Stranded visitors turn down airlift
Bardsey Island
Seventeen visitors are stranded on Bardsey Island
A group of visitors to the a remote island off the north Wales coast say they do not need rescuing.

Coastguards launched an airlift operation earlier on Wednesday to take 18 people including eight children off Bardsey Island.

The group includes three families, some birdwatchers and nuns on a religious retreat

They went over to the island by boat on October 22, and have been unable to leave because of the stormy weather.

But Simon Glyn from the Bardsey Island Trust , which owns the island, said the group were unwilling for the emergency services to come and help simply because they were stuck.

Sea King helicopter
An airlift by helicopter was planned

The feeling among the group was that they were happy to sit it out and they did not see themselves as emergency cases.

Mr Glyn said they had adequate food and fuel.

Although the weather was bad with high winds they were hoping for a change either later on Wednesday or on Thursday morning.

A rescue operation was launched after renewed attempts to reach the island by boat failed.

Rescue crews were also attempting to fly back to the island its only occupants, the shepherd and his wife,

Bird-watching

"It is a beautiful island where people spend time bird watching and communing with nature, but the intention was to spend five or six days there,"said John McClymont of Holyhead coastguard.

"The island is very exposed and barren and not the ideal place to spend time during the weather we have had."

"It is only a couple of miles from the mainland but the sea around Bardsey Sound is treacherous and the boat which took them out there has not been able to return."

He added that Barnsey Island Trust run tours to the secluded spot and had been struggling to re-establish contact with the island.

But with some of the worst storms to hit Britain for a decade during he last few days, trust workers were forced to call for outside help.

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