Rescued angler returns to Beara to make safety video

November 19th, 2015 10:10 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Orlaith and Colm Plunkett in a still taken from the RNLI video that they shot at Dursey Sound to raise awareness.

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AN Offaly man who was rescued off Dursey Sound at the end of August, has returned to the Beara Peninsula to film a video for the RNLI, about the importance of wearing a lifejacket.

Colm Plunkett was out fishing with his daughter Orlaith when a freak wave washed him into the sea.

 The only thing that saved him that day was the fact that he was wearing a lifejacket. 

Now he has called on all anglers to wear a lifejacket.

‘The RNLI heard about my rescue and asked me would I be interested in recording a video about the importance of anglers wearing a lifejacket. I jumped at the chance to do something for them and Orlaith and myself came down last month to film the video,’ Colm told The Southern Star. ‘They organised all the filming on the day and it’s great the video is up online now and hopefully other anglers and fishermen will get the message,’ he said. ‘If I can save anyone else the trauma that I went through, then it will be worth it. We want to break the cycle of anglers not wearing lifejackets,’ he added.

Colm also highlighted the importance of having a plan in case something goes wrong. When he was swept into the sea, Orlaith knew straight away not to jump in after him, but to ring the Coast Guard.

Castletownbere Coast Guard team, along with the Derrynane Inshore Rescue team, and the Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat, all came to the rescue of Colm on that day.

‘With Christmas around the corner, buying a self-inflating lifejacket could be an ideal present for loved ones and it could save their life,’ added Colm.

In an interview in the video, Colm’s daughter Orlaith explains the moment when she feared she might never see her father again. ‘It was getting to the point that I eventually realised that he might not come back,’ she says.

And her Dad says what was going through his head at that time was, would his daughter watch him drown? ‘I honestly believed I was going to die.’

Imploring others to wear their lifejacket while fishing, he says: ‘If you don’t wear a lifejacket, you’re as good as dead – and that’s why I respect the water.’

In the video, which features spectacular shots of the rugged but often wild coastline around Dursey, Colm also says, with his voice quivering: ‘The boys from Derrynane were the ones who pulled me out of the water, and I am ever so grateful. I owe them a debt … a debt I can never pay, and that’s why I am doing this.’

The video, which is tagged #RespectTheWater, can now be viewed by searching Colm Plunkett on YouTube.

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