Scotland's salmon farmers are often called upon to help in sea rescues but are also quick to act should they spot anyone in potential trouble.
In recent weeks Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) staff have raced to the aid of four people, with their involvement praised by the Coastguard for their fast responses.
In the first incident they helped three kayakers who got into trouble on Loch Torridon. Tom Charles Edwards, Gregor Oliver and Joseph Finlayson, all Marine Operatives at the Scottish Salmon Company, were working at the Aird site when they noticed someone in the water near the entrance to the loch. Due to poor weather they reacted quickly, heading across the loch to reach the individual. Upon arrival they discovered two people in the water, with a third who had managed to swim their way to shore.
Calling in a second boat which was being used by Ross-Shire Diving Services at the time the two teams rescued the three casualties and their kayaks, providing them with thermal protective aids and treating them for shock and cold. SSC staff also communicated with the Coastguard, who had dispatched a helicopter following the activation of a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) by one of the kayakers. The Aird site landing craft then took the three individuals to the SSC shore base at Kenmore, where they were looked after and made comfortable until an ambulance arrived.
READ MORE: Safety Around Scottish Salmon Farms
Alfie Edwards, Applecross Coastguard, said: “Due to the observations of Scottish Salmon Company staff the overturned kayak was spotted quickly and a rescue was made. The staff then brought the casualties to their site and kept them safe, warm and dry. A huge thank you to the fish farm staff for their quick actions which helped to stop the incident becoming more serious.
“We ask anyone planning to go out on the water to notify the Coastguard operations room before they head out, to wear lifejackets at all times, to carry a PLB with them and to check the weather forecast before leaving as it can quickly change. If anything goes wrong, or if you see something that doesn’t look right, please call 999 and report it to the Coastguard as soon as possible. If in doubt, phone it in.”
SSC staff at Loch Torridon also helped to rescue a fishing boat which had run adrift with no engine power. Peter Roberts and Joseph Finlayson, Marine Operatives at SSC sites Sgeir Dughall and Aird, were travelling to the Kenmore shore base when they received a request for immediate assistance from the ‘Blue Mist’, which was adrift near the rocky shoreline of the Loch Torridon narrows. They turned their boat around and went to their aid and proceeded to tow them to safety. An elderly couple and a dog were on board the boat and were very grateful to SSC staff for their assistance.
Odd Eliasen, Chief Executive Officer at The Scottish Salmon Company, said: “We’re incredibly proud of Tom, Gregor, Joseph, Peter and the teams at our Aird and Sgeir Dughall sites who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to rescue not just three kayakers but also a fishing boat on Loch Torridon in recent weeks. Their actions meant that both of situations were brought under control quickly, rescuing five people from two terrifying incidents.
“I’d also like to commend the Coastguard and the ambulance services for their support.”