A volunteer lifeboat crewmember from Newcastle in County Down and his brother rescued two children and four adults from the freezing water after their boat sank off the coast of Donegal yesterday (Tuesday 12 July). The two brothers, Richard and Samuel Burgess were out fishing on a six metre RIB Blue Haven at around 4.30pm when they heard a call from Malin Head Coast Guard on their VHF radio seeking urgent assistance for an 18 ft cruiser that was taking on water and sinking off Port na Blath in Sheephaven Bay, county Donegal.
Rescuers Richard and Samuel Burgess and their Red Bay Stormforce RIB
Realising they were near the area they immediately made contact with the Coast Guard and made their way to the scene. On arrival they saw debris and a small part of the bow of a vessel protruding from the water. Two children and four adults were nearby in the water and wearing lifejackets. The brothers immediately went to their aid and recovered all six onboard their RIB. The men also took their fleece and jacket off to wrap around the two children to keep warm. They then made their way back to land and the group were met by representatives from the Downings Coast Guard with the children taken on to hospital to be checked out.
Commenting on the rescue Newcastle RNLI lifeboat volunteer Richard Burgess said, "I can't believe that on my holidays with my brother Samuel in Donegal, we were involved in the rescue of six people from the sea. I didn't expect to be using my RNLI training away from Newcastle but I am delighted we were close by and were able to help these people. I have been on the lifeboat crew for twenty months and the minute we arrived on scene my lifeboat training kicked in.
Conditions on the day were good and the group were about half a mile out from the shore but the area is very rocky and they would have been unable to make it to shore on their own. It could have been a very different ending to the day and we are just delighted that everyone is safe."
The RNLI recommends that people always have a proper marine VHF radio onboard their vessel in case of emergency.