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      General News

HM Coastguard in the Western Isles has reported an increasing amount of call-outs, as the summer begins and both visitors and islanders are more active outdoors.

In an update posted on social media yesterday (Wednesday 22 May) HM Coastguard Western Isles Skye and Lochaber reported seven incidents in the week to 19 May, including four involving Western Isles teams.

Last Thursday (16 May) saw a report coming in from a walker on Traigh Iar beach in North Uist, saying that there were bags of clothes and towels left on the beach and nobody in sight.

Benbecula and Lochboisdale coastguard rescue teams were tasked and reached the scene shortly before 1pm, but almost at the same time the first informant made contact again to say that swimmers had emerged from the water and were safe and well. The incident was treated as a false alarm with good intent.

On the same day, at 7.14pm, two calls came in asking for coastguard assistance with a medical emergency at a property in Maraig, Isle of Harris.

The alert had come via Scottish Ambulance Service, who had called on HM Coastguard helicopter R948 to help after learning that a 70-year-old woman had collapsed and that the ambulance was 45 minutes away by road.

Emergency resuscitation was underway when the Isle of Harris CRT, HM Coastguard duty officer and one member of Stornoway CRT arrived on scene. The emergency workers included two parademics, but sadly the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Sunday at 11.20am a group of three people, walking with their dog at Loch Eport in North Uist, called the emergency number to say that a 59-year-old woman in their party had fallen and suffered a suspected sprained ankle.

Since the party were just 50 yards from the shore, RNLI Leverburgh were tasked and CRT teams from Lochboisdale and Benbecula once again called out.

The teams stabilised the casualty and prepared her for the arrival of Helimed 2, handing her into the care of Scottish Ambulance Service who took her onwards for further treatment. All teams were released by 4.04pm.

A spokesperson for HM Coastguard said: “We would like to express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased casualty in Harris, and extend our best wishes for a speedy recovery to the remainder of this week’s casualties.

They added that people should always dial 999 in an emergency, ask for the coastguard, and could improve their safety by checking weather forecasts and tides and staying together in an emergency.

They said: “The area is getting generally busier, and our incident rate is increasing as we enter peak season. As ever thanks to our co-responding services for great joint working.

The picture shows CRT members in training on stretcher carrying earlier this year (HM Coastguard Western Isles Skye and Lochaber).