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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

Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's 4th Blue Light service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

Introduction

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions around 2000 times (40 times to assist mountain rescues and 200 times to carry out aeromedical HEMS missions on behalf of the HSE), Coast Guard volunteer units will respond 1000 times and RNLI and community lifeboats will be tasked by our Coordination Centres about 950 times
  • evacuate medical patients off our Islands to hospital on 100 occasions
  • assist other nations' Coast Guards about 200 times
  • make around 6,000 maritime safety broadcasts to shipping, fishing and leisure craft users
  • carry out a safety on the water campaign that targets primary schools and leisure craft users, including at sea and beach patrols
  • investigate approximately 50 maritime pollution reports

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

List of Coast Guard Units in Ireland

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin
  • Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

The roles of the Irish Coast Guard

The main roles of the Irish Coast Guard are to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction.

Each year the Irish Coast Guard co-ordinates the response to thousands of incidents at sea and on the cliffs and beaches of Ireland. It does this through its Marine Rescue Centres which are currently based in:

  • Dublin
  • Malin Head (Co Donegal)
  • Valentia Island (Co Kerry).

Each centre is responsible for search and rescue operations.

The Dublin National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) provides marine search and rescue response services and co-ordinates the response to marine casualty incidents within the Irish Pollution Responsibility Zone/EEZ.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia and MRSC Malin Head are 24/7 centres co-ordinating search and rescue response in their areas of responsibility.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Ballycotton and Clifden.

MRSC Malin Head is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle.

MRCC Dublin is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Carlingford Lough and Ballycotton.

Each MRCC/MRSC broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and, in some cases, MF radio in accordance with published schedules.

Maritime safety information that is broadcast by the three Marine Rescue Sub-centres includes:

  • navigational warnings as issued by the UK Hydrographic Office
  • gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings as issued by the Irish Meteorological Office.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

The Coast Guard can contract specialised aerial surveillance or dispersant spraying aircraft at short notice internationally.

Helicopter tasks include:

  • the location of marine and aviation incident survivors by homing onto aviation and marine radio distress transmissions, by guidance from other agencies, and by visual, electronic and electro-optical search
  • the evacuation of survivors from the sea, and medical evacuees from all manner of vessels including high-sided passenger and cargo vessels and from the islands
  • the evacuation of personnel from ships facing potential disaster
  • search and or rescue in mountainous areas, caves, rivers, lakes and waterways
  • the transport of offshore fire-fighters (MFRTs) or ambulance teams (MARTs) and their equipment following a request for assistance
  • the provision of safety cover for other search and rescue units including other Marine Emergency Service helicopters
  • pollution, casualty and salvage inspections and surveillance and the transport of associated personnel and equipment
  • inter-agency training in all relevant aspects of the primary role
  • onshore emergency medical service, including evacuation and air ambulance tasks
  • relief of the islands and of areas suffering from flooding or deep snow

The secondary roles of the helicopter are:

  • the exercise of the primary search, rescue and evacuation roles in adjacent search and rescue regions
  • assistance to onshore emergency services, such as in the evacuation of high-rise buildings
  • public safety awareness displays and demonstrations
  • providing helicopter expertise for seminars and training courses

The Irish Coast Guard provides aeronautical assets for search and rescue in the mountains of Ireland. Requests for Irish Coast Guard assets are made to the Marine Rescue Centres.

Requests are accepted from An Garda Síochána and nominated persons in Mountain Rescue Teams.

Information courtesy of Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (July 2019)

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