Rescued canoeist dies in hospital

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The Independent Online

A canoeist who was rescued from the water near Scotland's capital died in hospital, the coastguard confirmed today.

A rescue operation was sparked just after 10.30pm yesterday after a group of swimmers and kayakers got into difficulty in the Firth of Forth near Gipsy Bay, Granton, Edinburgh.

A RAF rescue helicopter found one of the canoeists shortly after 1am. He was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and was said to have been unconscious and suffering from hypothermia.

But a spokesman for Forth Coastguard confirmed the man had died later in hospital.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the alarm had been raised by a member of the group after they swam to shore and explained that another swimmer and two canoeists were in trouble.

Coastguard rescue teams from Kinghorn, Queensferry and Anstruther began a shoreline search for the missing individuals, while RNLI lifeboats from Queensferry and Fisherow searched the sea with an RAF rescue helicopter from Boulmer.

Lothian and Borders Police, Fire Brigade and Scottish Ambulance also attended the scene.

The remaining swimmer made it ashore and the other canoeist was found by coastguards just before 11pm.

All the people involved are believed to be men aged in their 30s, officials said.

Forth watch officer Simon Ward said: "We're not sure how this group got into difficulty but it is a timely reminder that as well as wearing the buoyancy aids recommended by their sport's governing body, canoeists should carry hand-held VHF (very high frequency radio), flares and a charged mobile phone.

"That way you can call for help as soon as you need it."