#MCIB - A man who lost his arm when he fell overboard from his boat in Cork Harbour last summer could have avoided the accident if he had followed essential safety precautions, according to the official report into the incident. The full report is available to download below as a PDF document.
Owen Corkery of Carrigaline was the subject of a 'miracle rescue' on 9 June 2012 when he was thrown overboard from his RIB, which subsequently struck him several times after he entered the water near Haulbowline Island, causing serious injuries to his head, back and left arm.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the RNLI said Corkery was "incredibly lucky to have been spotted from the shore" by a man now known to be Paul Bryans, who had been looking through a telescope at Fort Camden in Crosshaven approximately a mile away from the site of the incident.
Bryans and colleague Dick Gibson immediately raised the alarm with the emergency services and Crosshaven RNLI respectively, and rescue crews were dispatched within minutes.
While the lifeboat volunteers took control of the wayward RIB, Corkery was quickly retrieved from the water by the crew of the Cork Harbour Pilot boat Sonia. They found him incoherent and bleeding heavily, and also noted that while he was wearing a working personal flotation device (PFD), he was not wearing warm clothes or shoes.
Corkery was transferred via ambulance to Cork University Hospital, where his left arm was later amputated just above the elbow due to the severity of his injuries.
According to the official report into the incident by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB), the RIB was found to be undamaged but had no CE or other approval mark.
The kill cord on the boat's motor was also found to be malfunctioning, as the engine could be started whether or not it was attached, and did not shut off when removed.
The report states that Corkery - an experienced powerboat user who had not completed any recognised handling course - has since explained he was aware of the kill cord malfunction but continued to use the vessel.
He confirmed in the same interview with investigators that he was standing beside the helm of the RIB at the time of the incident, a position that "would have made him considerably more likely to be thrown from the vessel".
Investigators also found it likely that Corkery's lack of shoes would also have reduced his grip while standing on the floor of the RIB.
In its conclusions, the MCIB report - which is available to download below - emphasises that the kill cord is an "essential part of safety equipment for all open motorboats" that should always be used and checked regularly, and that the helm of any high-speed watercraft should always remain seated, even at low speeds.
It also recommends that all pleasure craft owners should complete a recognised powerboat handling course.