A search for two men on an inflatable dinghy was launched by RNLI crews from Kessock and Loch Ness early on Saturday morning after a relative alerted the emergency services.
When the volunteer crew of RNLI Kessock were paged just before midnight on Friday night it was the Flood Rescue Team (FRT) that was tasked to respond to the emergency call. The men had last been seen leaving Dores beach around 7pm that evening.
With little information from the relative of the two men’s whereabouts except they were in ‘fast flowing water’ the volunteer crew who are specifically trained to work in these conditions made their way towards the weir just down stream from Dochgarroch in their Land Rover.
The Flood Rescue Team based at Kessock are a self contained unit that form part of the RNLI’s bigger Flood Rescue capability that has responded to flooding emergencies both Nationally and Internationally in the past few years. Although they are trained to respond overall to flooding emergencies, one aspect of that training is to work effectively in very fast flowing water, be that rivers, burns or tidal streams.
While the Loch Ness RNLI Lifeboat started a search of Loch Dochfour the Kessock volunteers made preparations to start a search of the water at the weir and make their way down stream to Inverness. At around 1.20 am the Kessock volunteers were stood down just as they started searching as after confirmation came through that the men had been found safe at the Ness Islands in the centre of Inverness.
Having packed away their equipment the Kessock volunteers made their way back to the RNLI Lifeboat station in North Kessock.
This was the third call out, or shout in as many days where the volunteers from Kessock were paged to respond to an emergency and stood down again just as they were about to start a rescue operation.
On being stood down from all 3 shouts, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Kessock, Gary Friedman said: ‘Any time that the pagers go off and the volunteer crew at Kessock are tasked to an emergency the RNLI recognises that there will always be a certain amount of inconvenience caused to them, either at home or at work. But as volunteers the men and women are trained to respond to any situation and we would much rather be called to help and be stood down again like in these past three days than not be called upon at all and hear later on of the potential consequences. Thankfully on this occasion everybody was found safely’