Firth of Forth incident: Dramatic video shows RNLI volunteers rescue man after kayak capsizes

A training day turned real for the volunteer crew from Queensferry RNLI Lifeboat Station when a capsized kayaker needed to be rescued from the Firth of Forth at the weekend.

By Gary Flockhart
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 3:49 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 4:04 pm

The man had become extremely cold and tired whilst attempting to self-rescue, 500m north of Cramond Island on Sunday (April 24) when the RNLI Volunteers came to the rescue.

The RNLI Volunteers had a joint training exercise with Kinghorn RNLI prematurely ended that afternoon due to the UK Coastguard Helicopter they were with being called away for an emergency.

On returning from the training briefing, the walk became a sprint as the call was transmitted on the handheld VHF radio of a kayaker in difficulty.

At 3pm, a bystander spotted the kayaker from land. The bystander dialled 999 to raise the alarm with the UK Coastguard, who sent a request for help to the Queensferry RNLI inshore lifeboat Jimmie Cairncross.

The charity’s lifeboat arrived on scene with the casualty at 3.20pm.

Weather conditions at the time were overcast with a large swell and rough seas.

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Queensferry RNLI Lifeboat rescues capsized kayaker from Firth of Forth. Credit: RNLI/Queensferry

The lifeboat was able to locate the kayaker quickly as they had stayed with their kayak and raised a paddle in the air to attract the attention of the volunteer crew.

Two crew members pulled the extremely tired and visibly cold casualty onboard.

A third crew member managed the kayak to reduce the risk of it impeding the lifeboat’s engines.

The casualty was immediately rushed to Granton harbour, being constantly assessed enroute, and given aids to protect them from further cold exposure.

On arrival at Granton Harbour, the casualty was able with assistance to disembark the lifeboat into the care of UK Coastguard until the Scottish Ambulance Service arrived.

Kinghorn RNLI were requested to retrieved the kayak and paddle, then proceeded to meet UK Coastguard personnel at Granton Harbour.

Mike, Queensferry RNLI Helm, said: “Although the kayaker was extremely cold and tired, they managed to stay with the kayak and hold their paddle up in the air which in no doubt helped us find them quickly.

“They were also wearing a PFD (Personal Flotation Device). When we reached the casualty, they were unsure how long they had been in the water for, their training and equipment played a massive part in the outcome of this rescue.”