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Fethard Lifeboat Crew Rescue Cattle From Sea After Cliff Fall

6th March 2017
Fethard RNLI brings one of the two stranded bulls to safety Fethard RNLI brings one of the two stranded bulls to safety Credit: RNLI/Fethard

#RNLI - In an unusual callout for Fethard RNLI recently, the volunteer lifeboat crew came to the aid of two bulls that had fallen from cliffs in the Broomhill area.

In difficult conditions, with an incoming tide and a large sea swell, the two animals in distress were brought to safety by the incredible efforts of the lifeboat crew on the day.

Fethard RNLI was already out on exercise with their neighbours in Kilmore Quay RNLI on Friday 24 February when the lifeboat was tasked to the Broomhill area at Waterford Harbour to a report of two bulls that had fallen from a cliff.

On scene at Broomhill by 11.20am, the lifeboat crew assessed each animal and decided to attempt a rescue as one was stranded in the gully with the incoming tide.

The second animal was 10 feet above the water on rocks further north and was relatively safe at that time.

The helm veered the lifeboat down into the gully and crew member Eoin Bird entered the water with a rope, swimming 50 yards in dangerous and difficult conditions to reach the stranded animal that had fallen some 15 metres.

Bird made a halter and placed it around the animal, then swam back to the lifeboat, which then towed the animal clear of the rocks.

The bull was brought alongside the lifeboat and one of the crew held its head safely above water for the 1.5km journey to Templetown Bay, where it was safely landed ashore to be taken into the care of the owner.

The lifeboat crew then returned to the scene where a halter and rope had already been placed on the second animal, which was then towed off the rocks and brought ashore.

Commenting on the callout, Fethard RNLI deputy launching authority Hugh Burke said: “This was a rescue with a difference for our volunteers, but we do train for every type of scenario. Nobody wants to see animals in distress or difficulty and we are happy to launch to bring them to safety.

“Conditions on the day were fairly lively with a two metre swell. The rescue involved excellent boat handling by our lifeboat helm John Colfer and great work by Eoin and Finola to bring the two animals to safety. It was one we won’t forget in a hurry.”

The lifeboat crew on this callout were helm John Colfer and crew members Eoin Bird and Finola Foley. Shore crew were Thomas Nolan and Tim Bradley.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

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