A group of four swimmers sparked an emergency response this afternoon (Sunday 18 October) when they became caught in a riptide off Cliff beach in Uig.

The party, thought to be of island residents, including a mother and her teenage son, were all caught in the strong current while swimming around 3pm today.

Two of the party were able to make their way to shore and raise the alarm, with Stornoway Coastguard operations centre setting a rescue plan in motion at 3.05pm.

Rescue helicopter R948 was tasked and Coastguard Rescue Teams from Miavaig and Breasclete also went to the scene.

A woman in her 40s was taken by helicopter from the scene to Stornoway airport and onwards by Scottish ambulance to Western Isles hospital.

The other members of the party were given advice by CRT personnel before leaving the scene.

A spokesperson for HM Coastguard said today: “Please be aware of the currents and tide conditions if you intend to enjoy our beautiful beaches.

“Rips are strong currents running out to sea, which can quickly drag people and debris away from the shallows of the shoreline and out to deeper water.

“They tend to flow at 1–2mph but can reach 4–5mph, which is faster than an Olympic swimmer.

“Rips are especially powerful in larger surf, but never underestimate the power of any water. They are also found around river mouths, estuaries and man-made structures like piers and groynes.”

Further Advice can be found at:  https://rnli.org/safety/know-the-risks/rip-currents