Real-life emergency interrupts RNLI film on Mull

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Mull’s lifeboat crew had just settled down in Tobermory on Sunday, November 14, to watch a film celebrating the RNLI, titled Launch! On the Sea with Scotland’s Lifeboats, when a real-life emergency launched them onto the sea in search of a missing diver.

At 3.50pm on Sunday November 14, just before the film was due to start in An Tobar, the volunteer crew’s pagers all sounded, and they dashed to the RNLI station nearby in the harbour.

On the 25-minute passage down the Sound of Mull, the crew prepared to undertake casualty care of the diver if required. Shortly before arriving on scene, one nautical mile northwest of Fishnish Bay, communication was received that a local dive boat had found the diver safe and well and returned him to his scallop dive boat.

On arrival, it was clear that the scallop dive boat was aground on a submerged reef close to shore. The local dive boat had passed a line to the casualty vessel but was unable to take them off the rocks.

Tobermory lifeboat’s coxswain made the decision that the best course of action was to tow the boat off the rocks as she was listing significantly on an ebbing tide and in imminent danger of breaking up on the rocks.

With Oban lifeboat standing by, a bow tow was set up and with some careful manoeuvring, the casualty vessel towed into safer waters. After the crew of the scallop dive boat had checked for water ingress, the tow was dropped and they began to head for Lochaline.

Within a couple of minutes, the skipper communicated that they had lost engine power. With a tow re-established, the lifeboat towed the vessel to Lochaline where she was met by the Lochaline Coastguard Rescue Team and made secure on the pontoons.

The Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsey headed home to Tobermory where she was refuelled and made ready for service by 7.45pm.

Coxswain David McHaffie said: ‘This was a very demanding call out that required quick actions and teamwork. I am glad that the Tobermory volunteers rose to the challenge, getting the boat and her three crew safely back to the pontoons. It was also a good example of working with the public as Gaelic Rose was first on scene and able to assist the diver.’