- Around 80 dingies in the water when the squall hit
- 97 people fell into the water
- 10 people were injured, most showing signs of hypothermia
- 6 people have been transported to hospital
(Source: South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland, Maritime and Coastguard Agency)
UTV report Judith Hill has just tweeted this image of Strangford Lough, adding that several ambulances have just left the scene.
A group of ambulances has just taken off with some casualties - rescue helicopter in the sky above lough http://t.co/zMKexpD3jU
The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland said that casualties were being brought to the Ulster Hospital (Dundonald).
A website tracking the movements of the Coastguard helicopter shows the part of the lough that is being targeted in the search and rescue operation.
An update from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency says that 10 people have been injured, and that most are showing signs of hypothermia.
The statement continued: "It's believed that all those in the water have been accounted for. However rescue units on scene, including the helicopters and lifeboats, are carrying out further searches to make sure."
Strangford Lough is an area affected by powerful tides from the sea. It is a short distance south west of Belfast in Co Down.
It is popular with all sorts of watersports enthusiasts and a dedicated canoe trail has been laid out along its waters.
The ambulance service responding to the incident in Strangford Lough has said that some people are suffering from hypothermia, UTV reporter Aidan Kennedy has tweeted:
BREAKING NEWS - AMBULANCE SERVICE SAYS A NUMBER OF PEOPLE WITH HYPOTHERMIA AFTER 100 PEOPLE FEEL INTO WATER DURING KILLYLEAGH BOAT RACE
UTV Editor Chris Hagan has tweeted that initial reports suggest between 90 and 100 people fell into the water in Strangford Lough, and that the first casualties have arrived on dry land:
First reports suggesting between 90 and 100 people in the water in Strangford Lough. Two choppers in air. Major incident declared
First casualties being landed from major incident on Stangford Lough. Number of boats capsized after sudden weather storm.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has said it responded to reports that sailors were struggling in the windy conditions, but that it is too early to tell how many people are involved in the incident in Strangford Lough.
A statement on the agency's website said:
The Coastguard is this afternoon coordinating a rescue response after approximately 80 sailing dinghies were hit by stormy weather in Strangford Lough.
Belfast Coastguard was first contacted just before 2pm reporting that some of the boats had capsized, while others were struggling to cope in the strong winds and squally showers.
The Bangor and Portaferry Coastguard Rescue Teams, the Portaferry and Newcastle RNLI lifeboats, the Irish Coast Guard helicopter along with the helicopter from RAF Valley have been sent to the scene.
It is not clear at this time how many people are involved and if there are any injuries. A search and rescue operation is ongoing.
A rescue operation is under way after approximately 80 sailing dinghies were hit by stormy weather in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, the Maritime and Coastguard agency said.
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