What is pleasing to hear is that all 16 kayakers are safe and well thanks to being well equipped, carrying communications kit (mobile, VHF) which allowed them to raise the alarm and finally thanks to the stirling work of the Coastguard Helicopter and Weymouth RNLI.
There are a range of media reports available which have been catalogued by Mark Rainsley on his South West Sea Kayaking Facebook page.
The leader of the trip has published a short statement for use by the media:
The group were experienced, trained and fully equipped for paddling the waters around Portland.
Having successfully negotiated Portland Bill from east to west. The final leg was started. Several small things during the day had compounded to alter the groups original plan. Back up plans were used and whilst the group were heading for a landing spot by Portland Bill, one of several back up plans and something the group was capable off. One person took a swim and was rescued by members of the group back into their kayak. The group had now drifted on to the edge of the tidal race. The decision was then made to call for assistance. All Persons were rescued from their rafted kayaks before darkness fell. The kayaks were rescued afterwards, hence why it was dark.
I can not praise the rescue services enough for their professional and speedy response, and also the paddlers involved who put their training into practice, making sure the group stayed safe.
The Weymouth RNLI website provides this information as well as the following footage of the rescue and then recovery of boats in progress: