Two men rescued by Royal Navy warship near Ailsa Craig

HMS Blyth which rescued the two men off the Ailsa Craig.
HMS Blyth which rescued the two men off the Ailsa Craig.

There was high drama near Ailsa Craig on Tuesday April 22 as two men had to be rescued after their dinghy capsized into the water.

A Royal Navy warship rescued the two men, who are thought to be in their 20s after their 16ft Wayfarer dinghy capsized into the water during moderate seas.

The locker compartment of the dinghy became flooded meaning the two men couldn’t right the boat.

Luckily for the men the warship HMS Blyth was only about three miles away from the island as it was heading to the Mediterranean at the time.

One of the men used his mobile phone to call a friend who is a member of the Campbeltown RNLI crew who got in touch to alert Belfast’s coastguard station.

At around 3pm HMS Blyth which is a warship used for mine hunting responded to the coastguard’s call for assistance and around the same time the Girvan Lifeboat was also called out to help.

When HMS Blyth reached the men who were a mile and a half out from land, they were cold but not injured.

The navy’s seaboat rescued them and gave them a thorough medical examination to make sure they were okay.

Lieutenant Commander Mark Redmayne, commanding officer of HMS Blyth said: ““As soon as we got the call from the coastguard at about 3pm, we responded by deploying my ship’s company as lookouts.

“Soon after, one of our diving team spotted the lads on the upturned dinghy. It was very fortuitous that we were passing at the right place, at the right time, considering we are on our way to the Mediterranean.

“They were recovered by our sea boat and looked like a pair of drowned rats. They had been clinging to the boat in the water for about 60 minutes but once aboard HMS Blyth we were able to offer them a shower and some overalls to wear.”

The Girvan Lifeboat crew on Sylvia Burrell then brought the two men back onto the land. The lifeboat crew were out on call from 2.30pm until around 9pm. The two men had set sail from Largs earlier in the day on a two day trip and had planned to sail around the island before heading over to Arran to stay at Lamlash.

HMS Blyth meanwhile was on its way to a three month Nato mission in the Mediterranean.

Ailsa Craig is home to Europe’s biggest gannet colony and also provides the granite for many of the curling stones used at the Winter Olympics.

It was reported recently that donors in the United States of America are keen to help the National Trust of Scotland buy the island to own as an asset.