Union Hall trawler lands an odd catch

April 4th, 2019 8:05 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Crewman Shane Deasey kneels next to a large piece of aircraft engine wreckage which was caught in the trawler's nets approximately 100 miles south of Union Hall. (Photo: Andrew Harris)

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UNION Hall skipper Pat Deasy caught more than he bargained for when he hauled a B-17 propeller on board.

Pat, who was fishing for prawns 110 miles off the Irish coast and 40 miles from the Isles of Scilly on Saturday, March 30th, was surprised when the slightly worse-for-wear propeller landed on the deck of his trawler, the Áine Christina.

Estimating the weight of his vintage find to be anything between 50kg and 100kg, Pat was nevertheless impressed by the sight of the aluminium blades, free from rust.

The skipper isn’t sure if the propeller blades buckled when they got caught in his gear, or if they bent on impact when the American B-17 bomber hit the water after an aerial dog-fight over the Atlantic Ocean.

Pat said he never caught anything of interest before except for a TV and a video, but he said: ‘We couldn’t get it working -because we had no remote control!’

Pat wasn’t joking, however, when he said his late father – Pat Snr – had the glory of hauling in a rather more famous find while fishing in Bantry Bay in the 1960s.

Pat senior retrieved an anchor that could trace its provenance to Wolfe Tone’s ill-fated invasion of 1796.

With the help of the late Bill O’Donnell, formerly of The Anchor Bar in Wolfe Tone Square, that artefact was put on permanent display on the approach road to Bantry town.

And there is another anchor of the same vintage on display in the town centre.

The Áine Christina – which is named after Pat’s wife Áine, his sister Christine, and his mother Ina – is a 20m fishing vessel operating out of Union Hall.

When Pat was back at base, last weekend, he confirmed to The Southern Star that the propeller is now the property of Customs, which is the official ‘Receiver of Wrecks’.

Pat is unsure, at this stage, what will become of it, but is hoping that a fuller story may yet emerge behind this piece of history.

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