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Marine Rescue News from Ireland

#RNLI - The RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew from Larne carried out a training exercise with the Dublin-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 off Ballygally Head yesterday (Sunday 10 April).

The Sikorsky S-92 initially visited Larne on 20 March last when they landed on Curran Point. The visit consisted of a briefing to Larne RNLI crew and included an orientation of the helicopter. The Larne Coastguard team was also present on the day, securing a safe landing zone for the helicopter.

Larne RNLI launched both their relief all-weather lifeboat Windsor Runner and inshore lifeboat Terry yesterday for the exercise to simulate recovery of a casualty to a helicopter in an emergency situation.

The lifeboats practiced manoeuvres at speed with Rescue 116. A crew member was winched into the helicopter and a casualty stretcher was transferred from the helicopter to the lifeboat. The helicopter winchman also landed onto the inshore lifeboat.

The RNLI regularly carries out exercises with other rescue agencies. It is this training that ensures the crew are able to work effectively with other agencies in an emergency situation, including medical evacuation of a casualty to a helicopter.

Larne RNLI coxswain Frank Healy said: "This was a very valuable exercise with the Irish Coast Guard. It's fantastic to step up the volume and breadth of our training coming into what is traditionally a busy summer period for call outs. Our thanks to the Irish Coast Guard for making this exercise possible."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Search - Two bodies have been found in the search for the missing crew of a fishing vessel that sank off Scotland's Western Isles early yesterday (Saturday 9 April).

One crew member was taken to hospital by helicopter as UK Coastguard teams from Stornaway and Prestwick joined the Barra RNLI lifeboat, local fishing vessels and Police Scotland in the search and rescue operation for three missing crewmates, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

One fisherman remains missing after two bodies were recovered yesterday afternoon off Mingulay. Next of kin are aware and police officers are in contact with the families.

Mark Rodaway, national maritime operations commander for the UK Coastguard, said: “Despite an intensive search including the helicopters, lifeboat and other fishing vessels in the area, we have been unable to locate the missing fisherman. Our thoughts are with all those involved.”

Chief Inspector Alastair Garrow of Police Scotland said: "At this time we can confirm that the bodies of two men have been recovered. A third man was rescued and was taken to hospital at Stornoway. He is not seriously injured.

"A fourth man was on the boat and is still missing. The next of kin of all the men have been informed.

Chief Insp Garrow added: "An investigation will be carried out in parallel with the police and the Marine Accident and Investigation Branch (MAIB) and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

"This has been a tragic incident which will impact on the local community. Our thoughts are with the families affected."

The search has now been scaled back pending further information.

Published in Rescue

#Rescue - Belfast Coastguard was "stuck for words" after bystanders failed to raise the alarm for an elderly man who fell into the water at Bangor Marina this week.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, the man was working on his boat at the marina on Belfast Lough when he slipped into the water just after 11am on Thursday morning (31 March).

He was reportedly moments away from drowning before he was rescued by Graham Edgar, who described a group of onlookers at the marina who failed to call for help, or even throw in one of a number of lifesaving devices nearby.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Rescue

#RNLI - Rosslare Harbour RNLI's volunteer crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 2am this morning (Wednesday 30 March) on request by the Irish Coast Guard to attend an injured man who was working on the Tuskar Rock lighthouse.

Once on scene, 8km from Rosslare Harbour, the all-weather lifeboat deployed its Y-class rescue boat to reach the landing area on the rock, but due to a heavy swell a landing was not possible.

Lifeboat operations manager David Maloney had anticipated that scenario and had already requested the coastguard helicopter Rescue 117 from Waterford.

The helicopter was quickly on scene and lifted the injured man aboard, flying him to Waterford Airport where an ambulance was waiting to transfer him to hospital.

Apart from a heavy swell, weather conditions at the time were calm with a clear dry night. The lifeboat remained in the area until the airlift was completed and then returned to base at Rosslare Europort.

Commenting after the event, Maloney said: "The lifeboat crew were quite correct in not attempting to land on the rock due to a heavy Atlantic swell. We wish the man a full recovery."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Coastguard - Profits at the contractor providing Ireland's coastguard helicopter service are nearly eight times greater than in 2014, as the Irish Independent reports.

CHC Ireland, a subsidiary of the Canadian helicopter services giant, says its turnover jumped by 24% to €52 million in the tax year ending April 2015, for a profit of €3.4 million.

The firm's latest accounts filed at the Companies Office also reveal that the Irish Coast Guard's fleet of four Sikorsky S92 long-range search and rescue helicopters undertook 3,331 missions in the 12 months ending April 2015, 138 more than the previous year -- setting up for what was the service's busiest year since 1991.

Four years ago the coastguard took delivery of its first purpose-built and fitted Sikorsky S-92 from CHC under a 10-year, €500 million contract that runs till 2022.

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard

#RNLI - Clogherhead RNLI's volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 11:50am yesterday (Sunday 20 March) in response to a distress EPIRB signal received from a fishing vessel located 25 miles east of Clogherhead.

While en route to the location of the signal, the Clogherhead crew was informed that the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 had winched the three people from a liferaft and were proceeding to hospital.

The lifeboat continued on to the signal's location in good weather and calm seas, arriving at the scene at 1:38pm. The liferaft was located and recovered and the EPIRB was found nearby a short time later.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Coastguard - Shannon's Irish Coast Guard helicopter flew to the rescue of a man who survived a 21-metre fall off a sea cliff in West Cork yesterday morning (Monday 7 March).

According to the Irish Examiner, Rescue 115 was tasked along with the Toe Head coastguard unit to attend to the man who was spotted at the base of the steep cliffs at Sandy Cove near Castletownshend.

Both were on scene within 20 minutes of the arrival of the ambulance service, who treated the casualty before he could be safely winched on board the helicopter for transport to Cork University Hospital, receiving further treatment for hypothermia.

It's thought that conditions on the popular cliff path above were rendered unstable after recent heavy rains.

In other coastguard rescue news, Sligo's Rescue 118 was involved in the medevac of an ill crewman from a fishing boat west of Hags Head in Co Clare.

The foreign national, aged 30, complained of abdominal pains before he was flown from the trawler Arkh Angel to University Hospital Galway for treatment, as Galway Bay FM reports.

Published in Coastguard

#RNLI - Volunteer lifeboat crew from three RNLI stations in Dublin were in Dundrum on Wednesday evening (17 February) for the Irish gala screening of Disney's latest action film The Finest Hours.

Volunteers Gerry Canning and Eoin Kelly from Skerries RNLI, Manus O’Donnell from Howth RNLI and Paul Cummins and Jack Shanahan from Dun Laoghaire RNLI were invited to swap lifeboats for the limelight as they shared the red carpet with guests at the high-action movie premiere at Dundrum Town Centre.

The film tells the incredible true story of the heroic 1952 SS Pendleton rescue mission carried out by the US Coast Guard which is still regarded as one of the greatest sea rescues of all time.

The Finest Hours is based on the acclaimed non-fiction book of the same name by Michael J Tougias and Casey Sherman, which tells the tale of true events that took place 64 years ago this week.

Presented in Digital 3D and IMAX 3D, the film will transport audiences to the heart of the action, creating a fully-immersive cinematic experience on an epic scale.

Owing to the long and close relationship that the RNLI holds with the US Coast Guard, it was highly appropriate for Disney and the RNLI to work together in Ireland, while helping to raise awareness of the charity’s lifesaving work.

The Dublin crew, dressed in full all-weather lifeboat kit, ushered guests to their cinema seats where ahead of the movie, they watched a hard-hitting advertisement from the RNLI’s national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water.

The campaign which was first launched last summer warns people that coastlines and waters can be dangerously unpredictable.

The 60 second commercial entitled ‘Breathe’ is shown from the point of view of the casualty, played by an actor. The narrator Andy Serkis invites the audience to hold its breath while watching the film, as the casualty struggles and succumbs to the effects of cold water shock in the time the audience is holding their breath.

The film reveals that, on land, the average person can hold their breath for 45 seconds – but in cold water, they might not last 10.

Speaking following the gala screening, Gerry Canning from Skerries RNLI said: "It was great to see such strong parallels between the bravery, selflessness and community spirit shown by the characters in the film which is mirrored by RNLI lifeboat crew all around Ireland.

"It’s not unusual for us to be woken up by our pagers on a normal week night, so an evening of glitz and glamour was a nice change."

In 2015, RNLI lifeboat crews – who are on-call 24/7, 365 days a year – launched 1,098 times rescuing 1,244 people.

The RNLI has been operating since 1824 and has continually shared expertise, advice and training knowledge with the US Coast Guard for over 100 years.

RNLI volunteers also attended gala screenings of the film in Galway, Cork and Limerick last night.

The Finest Hours will open in Irish cinema today (Friday 19 February). Watch the trailer below.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Coastguard - Dublin's Irish Coast Guard helicopter was involved in a rescue off the north-east of Ireland early this morning (Tuesday 16 February), as Independent.ie reports.

Rescue 116 assisted Belfast Coastguard in the medevac of a fisherman who suffered head injuries on a trawler 25 miles off Carlingford, Co Louth.

The man was airlifted to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry where his condition is not yet confirmed.

Published in Coastguard

#Coastguard - Poor weather conditions forced the Irish Coast Guard to abort its search for a missing fisherman off the Clare coast yesterday evening (Monday 8 February).

As Breaking News reports, the missing individual is understood to have fallen overboard from a fishing trawler in the North Atlantic some 330km off Clare.

The Shannon-based coastguard SAR helicopter Rescue 115 was dispatched to the scene but was forced to return to base within half an hour due to the worsening conditions as Storm Imogen swept in.

The long-range mission came just days after the medevac of a crewman from a Russian vessel off Valentia last Friday (5 February), as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Coastguard
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