Author: Dan Holland
Almost exactly 24 hours after they were last paged to launch their RNLI Lifeboat the volunteer crew of RNLI Kessock were again this morning (Saturday 29 December) woken at 4.34am to the sound of their pagers requesting they launch the Lifeboat.
Following reports received by Aberdeen Coastguard of a missing person in the Alturlie point just west of Inverness area the crews of both RNLI Kessock and Invergordon were paged to launch their Lifeboats to assist Northern Constabulary dog handlers, Nairn and Inverness Coastguard teams and the RAF Rescue 137 helicopter in a search of the Firth.
Wind and sea conditions were not ideal. The wind was gusting south westerly 30 knots and there was a 4ft swell. Arriving on scene the Kessock inshore Lifeboat searched from Alturlie point to Milton of Culloden while the Invergordon all weather Lifeboat searched from Chanonry point east to Alturlie point.
For the first part of the search the tide was ebbing and travelling the same direction as the wind. After low water at 5.50am the tide turned and ran against the wind making sea conditions much worse for both RNLI crews.
Stan Macrae, volunteer helmsman of RNLI Kessock said ‘there was a slight lull in the weather just before the tide turned. But as soon as it did conditions got really nasty, we had 4 ft breaking waves and the wind picked up even more’
The search of the area continued for the next two and half hours. There was nothing found during the search. At approximately 7.15 this morning both RNLI crews were stood down from the search by Aberdeen Coastguard and returned to their Lifeboat stations.
This was the 3rd shout in as many days for the volunteers of RNLI Kessock