Lough Derg RNLI responds to a Mayday from a sinking ship with 7 people on board

On Monday afternoon July 11, the Valentia Coastguard called out the Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch to assist seven people on a 60ft vessel which was taking on water and sinking.

The Valentia Coast Guard gave lifeboat volunteers the coordinates of the vessel, which was at a location south of Mountshannon Harbor on the County Clare coast.

At 2:42 p.m. Lifeboat Lough Derg RNLI John Spire launched with Eleanor Hooker, Owen Cavanagh, Joe O’Donoghue and Ciara Lynch on board at the helm. The lifeboat also carried its rescue pump. The Irish Coast Guard search and rescue helicopter team, Rescue 115, had taken off from their base at Shannon Airport and the Coast Guard rescue boat from Killaloe was also launched.

The wind was force 4 from the southwest with force 6 gusts. Visibility was good.

En route to the downed vessel, Valentia Coastguard informed the lifeboat that a passing vessel was in the process of removing the seven people from the downed vessel.

As the lifeboat approached Hare Island, Rescue 115, the Irish Coastguard search and rescue helicopter, signaled RNLI volunteers to follow them as they flew high and in front of the lifeboat. The passing vessel, after evacuating all casualties to its vessel, reported to Valentia Coast Guard that it was bringing people to Mountshannon Harbour.

At 2:52 p.m., the lifeboat is on site. Strong south-westerly gusts had pushed the stricken vessel deep into an area known locally as the corner of pages on the County Clare coastline, northeast of Mountshannon. The Valentia Coastguard asked the lifeboat to make an assessment of the damaged vessel and determine if it posed any environmental risks. With an RNLI volunteer conducting soundings from the bow, the lifeboat approached the casualty vessel in safe waters and, using an anchor and turn technique, came alongside the vessel.

An RNLI volunteer was transferred to the stricken vessel and noted that there was a lot of water on board, the electricity was still on but he was unable to access it, but that there was no evidence of a fuel leak. The lifeboat helm instructed him to deploy the anchor of the casualty vessel and return to the lifeboat.

The lifeboat informed the Valentia Coast Guard of their findings and was withdrawn.

At 3:56 p.m. the lifeboat left the scene and was back at the station by 4:11 p.m. At 4:31 p.m. the lifeboat was washed, refueled and ready for use.

Peter Kennedy, Deputy Launching Authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises boat users “if in danger on the lake, please call 999 or 112 and request rescue at sea or use your VHF radio to request assistance on the 16” channel.


Notes to Editors

RNLI Media Contacts

For more information, please phone Eleanor Hooker, Lough Derg RNLI Volunteer Helmsman and Lifeboat Press Officer on 0877535207 or [email protected] or Nuala McAloon, Regional Media Officer on 0876483547
[email protected] or Niamh Stephenson, Regional Media Manager on 0871254124 or
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RNLI Highlights

The charity RNLI saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in Ireland and the UK. The RNLI operates 46 lifesaving stations in Ireland. The RNLI is independent of the government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its relief service. Since the RNLI’s inception in 1824, the charity has saved over 142,700 lives.

RNLI Highlights

The charity RNLI saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service on the coasts of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. The RNLI operates 238 lifeguard stations in the UK and Ireland and over 240 lifeguard units on beaches in the UK and the Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of the coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its lifesaving service. Since the RNLI’s inception in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved more than 142,700 lives.

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