Jul 27 2012 by Jennifer Buchanan, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
A YOUNG man was rescued after drifting in the sea with his pet dog for 30 hours.
Aaron Brown was found in a tiny dinghy off the coast of Troon after his yacht sank.
But miraculously both the 24-year-old and his dog survived the freezing conditions and gale force winds that battered the seas this week.
Aaron set sail from Rothesay in his 21ft yacht at 2pm on Sunday, telling his family he was heading to Whiting Bay at Arran, around 25 miles away.
However when his worried dad, Austen, hadn’t heard anything by Monday and was unable to contact him on the boat’s radio or on his mobile, he called the police.
The RNLI and coastguard were dispatched to scour the sea between Rothesay and the bay. But the search turned up nothing.
Then at around 7.45pm on Tuesday evening, a man out for an evening stroll in Barassie happened to see an orange flare in the sky over the sea near Troon.
The man called 999 and the RNLI and coastguard weredispatched again.
And about four miles west of the town’s harbour, the Troon lifeboat found a small dinghy with Aaron and his dog inside.
It’s understood that Aaron’s engine failed and the batteries died in both the boat’s radio and his mobile phone when he was near Arran.
His boat was then left drifting helplessly all night – and it started taking on water.
Aaron managed to get aboard his dinghy with his dog a few minutes before his beloved boat, called Destiny, finally capsized and sank off the coast of Ardrossan at around 2pm on Monday.
Aaron, who comes from Largs, then spent another six hours floating in the sea battered by gale force winds.
And when he sent up his very last flare in a desperate hope, by pure chance it was seen by the walker.
A spokesman for Ayr coastguard said: “This young man has been extremely lucky.
“We usually get 20 to 40 999 calls when a flare is launched but on this occasion there was only one.
“The weather and the fact that it was a dark grey boat and he was wearing black would have made it virtually impossible to have seen him otherwise.”
After he was lifted from the water, the lifeboat crew rushed him to shore where paramedics were waiting to take him to Ayr hospital.
A spokesman for Troon lifeboat said: “After an estimated 30 hours, with not only the vessel giving up the ability to maintain steerage, but with gale force winds whipping up the seas of the area, loss of communication and finally to have the boat sink it would be safe to say that the rescue was in the nick of time.”
It was understood that Aaron was suffering badly from hypothermia when he was rescued, but his mum Fiona reported that Aaron is now home and recovering well.
lAn expert diver went missing near Ailsa Craig on Monday, July 23.
It’s understood that the man and a group of 11 other experienced divers set sail from Ayr on Monday to dive at a sunken wreck 10 miles north of Corsewall Point.
But the alarm was raised at around 4pm when the man didn’t resurface.
The coastguard, Girvan and Campbeltown lifeboats and rescue helicopter 177 from HMS Gannet at Prestwick all took part in the search, as well as a number of fishing boats who were in the area.
But despite all their best efforts, the man wasn’t found, and the search was called off on Tuesday. The coastguard are now on a recovery mission to find the diver’s body.
The man, who comes from England, has not yet been named be police as his family is informed.