Foyle Search and Rescue have been commended for their lifesaving work by Alderman Graham Warke, who spent a night volunteering with them.
It is a fortnight ago since Mr Warke and his party colleague, Gary Middleton, spent a night getting an insight into what the rescuers do while on duty.
“We wanted to get an idea of what they do,” said Graham.
“We went out on a shift Friday, January 22, starting at 9pm and went right through the night to the early hours of the morning. We took part in a foot patrol and on a river patrol on a boat and we were inspired by the professionalism and motivation of the volunteers,” he said.
Graham revealed that in 2015 the volunteers answered 154 incidents, 13 people were rescued from the water, while 61 people were taken away from the rivers edge. Some of those individuals might have been at the railings or river’s edge and could have entered the water had Foyle Search and Rescue not intervened. a further 76 people were approached and spoken as they were close to the river and gave concern as they were in a distressed state.
They also had the sad task of recovering the bodies of two people who had entered the water and died, assisted one boat in difficulty and also assisted the Garda with a high risk missing person search.
Since Foyle Search and Rescue started they have intervened with 2,705 individuals, rescued 329 people from water and recovered 128 bodies.
Graham, who was a Foyle Search and Rescue volunteer eight years ago, said he noticed big changes in equipment and training for volunteers.
“We want to thank the chairmen, Stephen Twells and all the volunteers who worked with us,” he said.