At 3.45pm on Wednesday 30 December the Girvan RNLI volunteer crew’s pagers were activated by Belfast Coastguard.
On arrival at the station details were relayed to the crew about a land based incident involving a bus with 12 persons on board stranded in a raging flood torrent just outside the village of Dailly, South Ayrshire, some 15 minutes away by road from Girvan lifeboat station.
The crew quickly gathered the equipment they would require and loaded it into vehicles whilst other crewmembers donned drysuits.
On arrival on scene, the crew prepared the equipment and liaised with the other agencies involved already, including Scottish fire and rescue, Police Scotland, Scottish Ambulance service, HM Coastguard(Girvan) and Royal Navy helicopter(rescue 177)
At this time Royal Navy rescue 177 was in the process of airlifting the casualties from the stricken bus, this continued until 10 of the 12 passengers were removed from the vehicle at which point the helicopter had to refuel.
The decision was then taken to complete the evacuation of the final two casualties by boat.
Girvan lifeboat crew members then proceeded to set up rescue and safety lines and utilised the breeches buoy rescue equipment and Y boat to tether to a safety point about 100yards away and directly across from the bus.
Girvan crew members then boarded the Police Scotland’s marine launch along with Police Scotland water rescue/divers, the boat was then guided into position towards the rear of the bus.
At this stage Girvan Lifeboat crew members and police officers gained entry to the vehicle via a side window toward the rear of the bus and rescued the two remaining casualties into the boat.
The casualties were then brought to a safe zone. The gear was then tidied away and loaded back into our vehicles for the return journey to Girvan just as the pagers went off for a second callout, which led to 17 hours total away from home for our volunteer crew between the two shouts.