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Lifeboat in fourteen hour rescue operation

25th May 2008

A major sea rescue operation occurred on the south coast on Saturday when a lone yachtsman who was injured requested assistance.

The British sailor was on passage from the Azores to Cork when his 33 foot yacht ‘Imagine’ ran into difficult sea conditions ninety miles south-west of Castletownbere harbour. The man, in his early sixties, refused a helicopter evacuation, after he sustained injuries after a fall on board the vessel. Both the Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat  ‘Annette Hutton’ and the Irish Navy L.E. ‘Aisling’ were tasked.

At 10.25 a.m on Saturday, the Castletownbere lifeboat, under coxswain Brian O’Driscoll, with crew M. Cronin, S. O’Sullivan, J.J. O’Leary, M. Murphy, and C. Murphy, launched and located the casualty at 2.30 p.m. in Force 6 north easterly winds,  moderate sea conditions and a four metre swell.

According to Lifeboat reports the yachtsman still refused to leave the vessel.

The lifeboat managed to transfer a crew member on board the yacht and prepare the casualty for tow. The lifeboat towed the vessel 46 miles for seven hours whereopen the L.E. ‘Aisling’ took over the tow. Castletownbere lifeboat had returned to station by midnight and was refuelled and ready by service again by 12.45 am.

The ‘Aisling’ towed the vessel and moored in Lawrence’s Cove in Bere Island and detained the vessel until this morning. The Castletownbere lifeboat went to Lawrence Cove this morning and towed the vessel to Castletownbere harbour where the yachtsman received medical attention and the yacht was examined by gardai and customs officials. Commenting on the rescue operation, RNLI spokesman, Paul Stevens stated ‘This was a particularly long service illustrating the range and capability of the Severn-class lifeboat and showing the continued dedication of our volunteer crew’ Team

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