Helicopter rescue for walkers stranded at Fair Head

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Two walkers who found themselves stranded at a rocky headland along the rugged Antrim coastline amid yesterday’s freezing temperatures were lifted to safety by helicopter.

They were winched to safety by the coastguard helicopter, which had flown in from Scotland, after the volunteer Red Bay RNLI lifeboat crew had managed to locate the missing walkers and illuminate the area with their searchlight.

The two walkers were reported stranded at the Boulder Field at Fair Head.

An RNLI spokesperson explained: “Red Bay RNLI was requested to launch at 5.10pm when a third walker was able to get to safety and raise the alarm for the stranded walkers on Fair Head.

“With temperatures plummeting, Red Bay RNLI launched both their lifeboats and when on scene at Fair Head, illuminated the Boulder Field.

“With the strong searchlight from the lifeboat directed onto the cliff face the two walkers were quickly identified around 150 metres up from the sea. The lifeboat guided the coastguard helicopter to the walkers and they were then winched to safety.”

Red Bay RNLI Coxswain Paddy McLaughlin said: “We would strongly advise people to think twice about walking or hiking on difficult terrain in freezing temperatures.

“Every year we answer a number of callouts to walkers or hikers on Fair Head but in this weather the risks are even greater.

“The surface is very slippy and difficult to navigate and access to the area can be quite challenging for search and rescues crews.”

Mr McLaughlin added: “We are always on call to help those in trouble or difficulty and thankfully this time one of the group was able to raise the alarm.”