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Displaying items by tag: inquest

#Buncrana - An inquest into the Buncrana slipway tragedy of March 2016 has found that the driver of the car that slipped into Lough Swilly was more than three times over the drink-driving limit.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, five people died after their car slipped into the water from a pier in Buncrana, Co Donegal on Sunday 20 March.

Sean McGrotty (49) was driving the car with his sons Mark (12) and Evan (8), his baby daughter Rioghnach-Ann, the children’s grandmother Ruth Daniels (59) and her daughter Jodi-Lee (14), according to The Irish Times.

Only Rioghnach-Ann was rescued from the car, thanks to the quick actions of local GAA player Davitt Walsh — who received a silver medal in the 2016 National Bravery Awards for his efforts.

Walsh told the inquest of his difficulties in getting back up the slipway from the water due to its coating of algae, noting that its slipperiness might not be obvious to people unfamiliar with the area.

Local man Francis Crawford also spoke at the inquest, recounting how he called to McGrotty has he saw the car slowly entering into the water at the bottom of the slipway, which was “slippery as ice” with algae.

“I was hoping that the emergency services would arrive and the car would not go down,” he said, adding that he believed it had been in the water for around 12 minutes before it sank.

McGrotty’s partner Louise James, who was away at the time of the incident, said through her solicitor: “I firmly believe the slipway should have been closed to the public or else proper warning signs displayed. It was an accident waiting to happen.”

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard crew winching two teenagers from the sea when one fell from her harness had never lifted two casualties at the same time before, as BreakingNews.ie reports.

Aoife Winterlich, 14, was one of four teenagers who had been swept into the sea off Hook Head during an outing for venture scouts on 6 December 2015.

Two managed to swim ashore but Winterlich got into difficulty in heavy seas. The fourth, a 15-year-old boy, attempted to keep her afloat until rescue arrived minutes later.

It was when Rescue 117’s crew attempted to transfer the pair into the helicopter that Winterlich slipped from her strop some 45 feet back into the water.

Records show that the winchman was back in the water to retrieve Winterlich within moments, and that she was in the helicopter just over a minute after.

The inquest into Winterlich’s death this week heard that she died from lack of oxygen to the brain resulting from near drowning, and that there was no evidence of contributing physical trauma.

Prof Maureen O’Sullivan of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, who conducted the post-mortem, said the fall was unlikely to have contributed to Winterlich’s death, according to RTÉ News.

The inquest also heard that the coastguard helicopter’s winchman and winch operator had never performed a lift of more than one casualty in a single lift.

Winch operator Neville Murphy told Dublin Coroner’s Court the situation that led his college Sean Jennings to descend with two winch strops was “unprecedented”.

“Two people in the water, that generally doesn’t happen,” he said. “We can only train to certain limits. We can never know what we are faced with as we look out the door of the aircraft.”

Earlier this year, the Air Accident Investigation Unit report into the incident concluded there was “nothing to suggest that the winchman’s decision-making was anything other than sound”.

The inquest is adjourned till October. BreakingNews.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
Two children looked on in horror as their father tried to save a drowning man, an inquest has heard in Belfast.
As the Belfast Telegraph reports, the family and a friend were thrown into Strangford Lough when their dinghy capsized some 500 yards from Newtownards Sailing Club on 12 June last year.
David Allen managed to pull his friend Ken Dorman to safety and performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while still in the water.
But Dorman, 51, had been shocked by the cold water and swallowed some, which caused him to drown, ruled coroner John Leckey.
Allen described his friend as strong and a good swimmer, and told of his shock when he saw him floating on his back unmoving after he was unable to inflate his buoyancy aid.
"He did not make any attempt to move at all and that is what I struggle with," said Allen. "I think there was something stopping him from doing anything."
The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Two children looked on in horror as their father tried to save a drowning man, an inquest has heard in Belfast.

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, the family and a friend were thrown into Strangford Lough when their dinghy capsized some 500 yards from Newtownards Sailing Club on 12 June last year.

David Allen managed to pull his friend Ken Dorman to safety and performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while still in the water.

But Dorman, 51, had been shocked by the cold water and swallowed some, which caused him to drown, ruled coroner John Leckey.

Allen described his friend as strong and a good swimmer, and told of his shock when he saw him floating on his back unmoving after he was unable to inflate his buoyancy aid.

"He did not make any attempt to move at all and that is what I struggle with," said Allen. "I think there was something stopping him from doing anything."

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
Problems with electrical wiring had been alerted to a retired mariner who drowned along with two friends after abandoning their boat due to a fire, an inquest into the tragedy has heard.
Wolfgang Schmidt (70), Richard Harmon (69) and Wolfgang Schröder (62) all died from drowning near Adrigole Harbour in Bantry Bay on 16 August 2010 after a fire broke out on Schmidt's boat during an angling trip.
The Irish Times reports that shipwright John Murphy told the inquest that he undertook repairs to the engines and fuel tank of the small cruiser in May 2010.
He said he expressed concerns about the state of the boat's wiring to Schmidt, who told him he planned to sell the boat later in the year and would return to him to tidy the wiring before then.
The inquest heard that the wiring was connected directly to the battery without an isolation switch or fuse board, which had compounded the problem when fire broke out and made the vessel unrecoverable.
Lone survivor Ed Dziato (47) told how they had twice tried to put out the fire with a powder extinguisher but both times the flames shot back up. They were unable to reach the lifejackets stored forward of the wheelhouse, which was quickly engulfed by flames.
In all three cases the coroner returned verdicts of accidental death due to drowning.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Problems with electrical wiring had been alerted to a retired mariner who drowned along with two friends after abandoning their boat due to a fire, an inquest into the tragedy has heard.

Wolfgang Schmidt (70), Richard Harmon (69) and Wolfgang Schröder (62) all died from drowning near Adrigole Harbour in Bantry Bay on 16 August 2010 after a fire broke out on Schmidt's boat during an angling trip.

The Irish Times reports that shipwright John Murphy told the inquest that he undertook repairs to the engines and fuel tank of the small cruiser in May 2010. 

He said he expressed concerns about the state of the boat's wiring to Schmidt, who told him he planned to sell the boat later in the year and would return to him to tidy the wiring before then.

The inquest heard that the wiring was connected directly to the battery without an isolation switch or fuse board, which had compounded the problem when fire broke out and made the vessel unrecoverable.

Lone survivor Ed Dziato (47) told how they had twice tried to put out the fire with a powder extinguisher but both times the flames shot back up. They were unable to reach the lifejackets stored forward of the wheelhouse, which was quickly engulfed by flames.

In all three cases the coroner returned verdicts of accidental death due to drowning.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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