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Dangers Of Drinking At Sea Raised In Galway Lobsterman Death Report

15th July 2013
Dangers Of Drinking At Sea Raised In Galway Lobsterman Death Report

#MCIB - Marine investigators have emphasised the dangers of drinking while at sea in the official report into the death of a lobster fisherman off Galway in April last year.

The body of Gerard Folan was recovered from the waters off St MacDara's Island, near Carna in Co Galway, on the morning of 24 April 2012 after he was reported missing the night before.

According to the report into the incident by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB), Folan had set off in his currach from Dooeyher Pier in Carna around lunchtime on 23 April to check on lobster pots some 3nm away, off Deer Island - promising to contact his father on his return.

Folan was shortly after observed by another fisherman in the area, and was reportedly not wearing an oilskin nor a lifejacket.

Some hours later Folan's father went around the local piers but did not find his son. Later still, Folan's ex-wife contacted Clifden Coast Guard to report his disappearance and a search effort was mobilised.

Early the next morning, before the search resumed at first light, the fishing vessel Ocean Breeze sighted a drifting currach that was found to be Folan's. His body was later recovered off St MacDara's Island around 11am.

According to the MCIB report, it was not possible to determine how Folan became separated from his boat, though it was found that the currach's outboard engine had no kill cord attached, so it is probable the engine was running and the boat motored out of reach when he went overboard.

Although Folan was regarded as a strong swimmer, the post-mortem found elevated levels of alcohol in his bloodstream, which the MCIB report said would have hindered his attempts to swim back to his vessel.

Investigators also highlighted the "undue delay" in raising the alarm when Folan has failed to return earlier on the evening of 23 April.

The full report into the incident is available to download below.

Published in MCIB
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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