ROUGH sea conditions in Dunmanus Bay were ‘more than likely’ the main factor in the tragic death of well-loved Goleen fisherman Kodie Healy, who died just days before his 24th birthday.
A report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) has concluded that it is most likely that Kodie fell overboard.
Kodie had set out, early on the morning of Wednesday October 9th 2019 in his boat the ‘Tommy R’ into Dunmanus Bay for a day’s fishing.
However, when he did not return later that evening his family raised the alarm, which was immediately responded to by members of the Coast Guard Service and local fisherman.
The wreckage of the ‘Tommie R’ was discovered around Carbery Island and Kodie body was recovered from the sea four days later.
The MCIB investigation into the tragic accident has proposed two possible causes. Taking into account the weather and sea conditions on the day the, MCIB report states that Kodie ‘was an experienced seaman and it is considered unlikely that he would have consciously navigated into these sea conditions.’
He ‘was navigating in rough seas which became so severe that the boat was overwhelmed and sank, he may have been distracted. For instance, pulling in the fishing gear or some similar activity and the boat was overwhelmed by a sudden breaking sea. If the boat was overwhelmed quickly there would be little time to send a distress signal or grab a lifesaving device. Kodie was not wearing a ‘Personal Flotation Device (PFD)’.
The MCIB report continued that Kodie ‘was either injured, incapacitated or unconscious and the boat steered uncontrolled into danger.’
‘The seas were rough, the waves frequent, steep and unpredictable, if he moved outside the wheelhouse, pulling in the fishing gear or some similar activity, there would be a likelihood of the boat moving unpredictably with considerable risk of the casualty falling overboard.’
The second likely scenario put forward by the MCIB is that Kodie ‘was navigating in rough seas which became so severe that the boat was overwhelmed and quickly sank.’
‘Both scenarios described are consistent with the evidence from the wreckage. The boat’s wheelhouse broke up and floated free while the hull sank at this time. The prevailing wind, seas and flood tide caused the buoyant wreckage of the boat to drift east towards the western shoreline of Carbery Island and the Dunmanus Peninsula.’
Kodie’s mobile phone, which he always carried with him and was, according to family members, always kept in the wheelhouse of the boat when he went fishing, was never found.
In conclusion the MCIB report stated: ‘The weather was adverse, there was a small craft warning in operation and the seas were rough in Dunmanus Bay,’ and that Kodie ‘was operating on his own in very dangerous seas off Carbery Breaker and Carbery Island.’