Even though it’s still only August, 2013 is already set the busiest year on record for the Coast Guard.
Figures released yesterday show a 45% rise in the number of incidents nationally - to 1,572 at the of July. The highest number of incidents ever recorded is 2,000 and the Coast Guard expects that number to be exceeded by this autumn.
A spokesperson for Malin Head MRCC said: “We handled twice as many incidents this July as we did last July. We’ve been flat out. The Sligo helicopter, for example, dealt with 112 incidents to the end of July, up 51% on last year.
“In addition to rescues out on open water, there have been an increased number on lakes and rivers. This is largely down to the exceptional weather we had in July. In many of these incidents, the availability of helicopters made the difference between life and death.”
The spokesperson also said Coast Guard helicopters are assisting the HSE in transporting medical cases, “where, for example, an advanced paramedic identifies someone with a critical heart attack, who needs to be taken to a centre of excellence - in Cork, Galway or Dublin - within 90 minutes”.
A spokesperson for Killybegs Coast Guard added: “We’ve certainly had a very busy summer here too, especially in July. Most of our incidents have been on the water or involving hill walkers who fell or got lost.”