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Very busy bank holiday for local RNLI crews

June 12th, 2023 3:00 PM

Very busy bank holiday for local RNLI crews Image
Baltmore’s RNLI crew was called to a yacht on the Ilen.

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By Kieran O’Mahony and Jackie Keogh

IT was an exceptionally busy bank holiday weekend for West Cork RNLI crews as they responded to a number of call-outs, including the rescue of 13 French fishermen off Dursey Island last Friday afternoon, while another crew had two call-outs within the hour on Sunday evening. 

No casualties were reported from the numerous incidents.

Emergency services, including the Castletownbere Coast Guard, Castletownbere all-weather RNLI lifeboat and Rescue 115 helicopter were tasked by Valentia Coast Guard last Friday afternoon at 3.15pm to a French-registered fishing vessel that had run aground at Dursey Island.

The 13 crew members  were aboard the 33m Grand St Bernard fishing trawler off Dursey Island which started to list and roll. Nine of the crew were airlifted to safety, while four more worked to establish a tow line. 

The trawler eventually came off the rocks and with the help of a local fishing boat. The crew arrived safely back to the lifeboat station in what was described as a ‘challenging call’ by Castletownbere RNLI.

On Saturday morning, Baltimore RNLI were called to assist sailors after their yacht ran aground on the Ilen Rover, following a request from the Irish Coast Guard. 

It was agreed that the yacht would self-float on a rising tide within a few hours and no damage had been caused.

Meanwhile, the volunteer crew also dealt with two shouts within the hour on Sunday evening. 

The all-weather lifeboat was launched to provide a medical evacuation for a man on Sherkin Island. 

While returning back to the lifeboat station, they came to the rescue of a small pleasure craft which had broken down within Baltimore Harbour. 

They managed to tow the boat, while the medevac casualty was brought ashore and made their own way to Skibbereen for further medical assistance.

The volunteer crew also came to the rescue of five people on Tuesday after a 40ft yacht got caught in fishing nets and ended up on rocks on the south side of Sherkin island, where it later sank. 

The crew launched their small inflatable Y-boat from the all-weather lifeboat and were able to pick up the passengers and bring them to the safety of the lifeboat. 

Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 also attended the scene. 

The passengers were brought ashore and there were no injuries.

The Baltimore RNLI crew also rescued a kayaker who got into difficulty after drifting onto rocks off Sherkin last Wednesday evening.

The crew were asked to conduct a search following a report that a female kayaker got into difficulty in the middle of Baltimore harbour at The Perch, near Lousy Rocks. 

The volunteer crew brought the casualty, who was shaken but otherwise safe and well, onboard the lifeboat and retrieved the kayak  before making their way back to the station. 

Pat O’Driscoll of Baltimore RNLI said that the kayaker did the right thing by going to sea prepared with a means of communication so that she could request the help when she needed it.

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