A group of nine scuba divers had to be picked up by the Kyle RNLI lifeboat in Loch Alsh on Scotland’s north-west coast after their new dive-boat broke down on its first day in action.
The Spirit of Fred. Olsen lifeboat was called out just before mid-day on Saturday, 21 November to retrieve the divers. The first to surface following their dive on the 20m-deep WW2 HMS Port Napier minelayer wreck had found that their boat had drifted away from the dive area and was unable to retrieve them.
The cox’n had called for assistance after the vessel suffered engine failure.
Loch Alsh lies between the Isle of Skye and the Wester Ross mainland, from where it took the lifeboat only two minutes to reach the scene. Three divers had already surfaced and were trying to board a passing supply tender, the SD Raasay, but were having difficulty because of its large size,
The lifeboat crew picked them up and helped them to board the tender before going to the assistance of another diver who had just ascended.
Fishing vessel the Helen Bruce picked up another three divers and transferred them onto the SD Raasay while the lifeboat waited to pick up the last two divers when they surfaced.
The tender carried the group back to Kyle, while the lifeboat went to take the disabled dive-boat under tow and return it to Kyleakin on the Skye side of the loch. The whole operation took 110 minutes.