Vandals continue to target life-saving equipment

Throw Ropes
WITH the recent spell of good weather and the disappearance of yet another vital piece of life saving equipment, local search and rescue volunteers are appealing to the public to ‘keep safe,’ when it comes to water.
On Thursday, May 4, Mourne River Search and Rescue team (MRSR) volunteers were conducting their weekly training session on the River Mourne when they discovered that a lifebelt, situated on the water wall behind SuperValu, had been removed again.
Rescue equipment along the River Mourne is continually being removed or vandalised. On the most recent occasion despite  their best efforts the volunteers were unable to locate the missing lifebelt.
A spokesperson for the voluntary organisation Paul McColgan said, “There has been an increase in incidents of vandalism of this much needed equipment in recent times. We would appeal to those involved to think about the consequences of their actions, should this equipment be needed and is unusable due to it being vandalised or removed.
“With the onset of the Summer months, I would like to take this opportunity to remind people of the dangers of congregating and socialising along our waterways.
“We are seeing large numbers, particularly of young people, gathering along the rivers, mostly at weekends where in some cases alcohol is being consumed.
“While the local waterways are there to be enjoyed by everyone, they can, if due care is not taken, be a very dangerous place.
“MRSR provides a vital service to this area,” continued Paul. “Regular training sessions are a must for our members if we are to provide an effective search and rescue service, not only to the local community of Strabane and district, but also to Derry, Omagh, Donegal and surrounding areas.
“It is absolutely essential that all life safety equipment is at hand for training and for rescues. I can only reiterate to those responsible –  please, please think about what you are doing. This vital life-saving equipment is there for a reason and it has to be available when needed.”
MRSR are appealing for witnesses to report any illegal activity to the appropriate authorities.

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