Man 'slipping in and out of consciousness' rescued from rowing boat

The 38-year-old was rushed to hospital after drifting off the coast of East Lothian for almost 12 hours.

Man rescued from rowing boat after ‘slipping in and out of consciousness’ a mile off Dunbar RNLI Dunbar

A rower discovered “slipping in and out of consciousness” by lifeboat teams off the coast of Scotland has been rushed to hospital after becoming unwell during training exercise.

Volunteer lifeboats from Dunbar and North Berwick were scrambled to rescue the man more than a mile off shore after the two-man crew spent almost 12 hours drifting in the water.

RNLI responders battled “two-metre swells” and force six gales to rush the 38-year-old back to shore where he was transferred to paramedics for treatment.

He was later taken to hospital following the daring rescue on Friday afternoon.

Dunbar lifeboat coxswain Gary Fairbairn said: “This was potentially a challenging operation in tricky conditions but we were able to utilise all the assets at our disposal and the casualty and vessel were brought ashore safely and without incident.

The rowing boat had been drifting overnight after the man took ill during a training run from Edinburgh to St Andrews. (Image: RNLI Dunbar)

“Thanks to the volunteers for the excellent job they did.”

The ocean rowing boat had set off from Edinburgh at around 9.30pm on Thursday evening as part of a “training passage” from the capital to St Andrews.

However one member of the pairing started showing signs of illness at around 3.30am, leaving them stranded and aimlessly drifting off the East Lothian coast.

Coastguard crews were made aware of the casualties at 2.45pm the following afternoon, leading to the all weather and inshore lifeboats being dispatched.

The man was conscious but was described as being “able to speak but clearly unwell,” and later had oxygen administered by lifeboat volunteers.

He was eventually returned to shore in dangerous conditions where the Scottish Ambulance Service and Police Scotland were waiting.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We were made aware of a man having suffered a medical episode on a rowing boat off Dunbar shortly after 2.35pm.

“The man was brought back to shore by the coastguard and RNLI and passed into the care of the ambulance service.

“Officers provided assistance at the scene.”

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