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Displaying items by tag: Clifden

#RNLI - A fisherman has died after his boat capsized off Cruagh Island near Clifden in Co Galway yesterday evening (Wednesday 23 May).

Volunteers from Clifden RNLI were involved in the search and rescue operation for the man after the alarm was raised by another fisherman shortly before 5pm.

Both Clifden RNLI’s Atlantic 85 inshore and the Mersey class all-weather lifeboats launched and made their way to the scene off Cruagh Island, some seven miles from the station.

The Irish Coast Guard’s Rescue 115 helicopter from Shannon was also tasked.

Once on scene, a search commenced and the helicopter crew spotted the casualty in the water and guided Clifden RNLI’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat to him.

The man was then transferred into the lifeboat where the lifeboat crew began to administer casualty care.

He was subsequently brought to Clifden lifeboat station where he was transferred into the care of ambulance paramedics and then airlifted by helicopter to hospital where he died as a short time later, as Independent.ie reports.

Speaking this morning following the tragic news, Clifden RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Brittain said: “All at Clifden RNLI would like to extend their sincere sympathies with the family of this man. Our thoughts are very much with them at this time.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Minutes after participating in the local St Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday 17 March, Clifden RNLI joined a full-scale search and rescue operation for two spear divers reported missing.

Clifden’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats were tasked alongside Achill RNLI, the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 and the Cleggan Coast Guard Unit in the search for the two men that had left Rossroe pier that morning in a small inflatable boat to go spear fishing on the north side of Killary Harbour. The men had not been since that morning.

At 1.12pm, Clifden RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat Fisherman’s Friend was prepared for launch with coxswain Alan Pryce, mechanic Robert King, navigator Owen Hayes and crew members Tom Davis, Kieran Folan and David Coyne.

The D class inshore lifeboat Celia Mary was transported by road to Rossroe and was crewed by helm James Mullen and crewed by Brian Ward, David O’Reilly and Ian Shanahan. Shore crew volunteer Fergal Conneely drove the Land Rover with the inshore lifeboat in tow to launch at Rossroe pier.

Clifden’s inshore lifeboat shortly after arrived on the scene joining Rescue 118. The crew were briefed by the local fisherman who had reported the spear divers missing.

When he was out fishing about 90 minutes previously, he had seen them spear fishing on the north side of the bay with a small inflatable with an outboard engine. However, he hadn’t seen them or their inflatable since, and as their van was still on the pier, with the weather deteriorating, he decided to call for assistance.

Weather conditions had a north-easterly Force 5-6 wind as Rescue 118 were conducting an aerial search of the bay. The lifeboat crew then spotted a small inflatable with two people onboard trying to hang onto a barge.

Clifden RNLI helm James Mullen said: “I informed Rescue 118 of the possible sighting and they proceeded to the area with us. When we arrived on scene, the two men informed us that they were the two missing spear divers. 

“Their engine had broken down and they had tried to swim the across the bay with their boat but it had become swamped. Their legs had cramped and they were both exhausted. We towed them back to the pier at Rossroe and helped them recover their boat at 2pm.”

Clifden RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Brittain added: “The inshore D Class lifeboat Celia Mary, which was just named in a ceremony last year, has once again proved how much of a valuable asset it is to our station. 

“We are delighted to have been able to respond and bring these people to safety and are also very thankful for the vigilance of the local fisherman who raised the alarm and potentially avoided a much worse outcome today.”

Elsewhere on Saturday, Howth RNLI launched its all-weather lifeboat to reports of an upturned kayak spotted in rough seas off the nose of Howth.

A member of the public, while out walking on Howth Head, spotted what appeared to be a yellow upturned kayak just off the nose of Howth in very rough water and raised the alarm with the Irish Coast Guard, sending them a picture taken with their smartphone.

Howth RNLI was immediately tasked to investigate, with crew pagers sounding at 5.45pm and the lifeboat launched within 12 minutes. Weather conditions saw a very rough sea state in Force 6-7 easterly winds.

Despite the poor conditions, the kayak was quickly located and brought aboard the lifeboat. It looked like it had not been used for quite some time and had been adapted to support a floating structure. The lifeboat completed a search of the area and returned to base.

Speaking following the callout, Howth RNLI station mechanic Ian Sheridan said: “We have to compliment the member of the public for their quick action. While in this case it was thankfully a false alarm, the accuracy of their report to the coastguard allowed us to find the reported vessel and conduct a search.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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#RNLI - Renowned Galway singer Sean Keane is set to make a welcome return to Clifden this February for a special evening of song and entertainment dedicated to the lifesaving work of the RNLI.

In the intimate setting of the Church of Ireland in Clifden at 8pm on Saturday 10 February, Sean and friends will launch a new song ‘Heroes of the Waters’ in tribute to those who volunteer to provide lifeboat services at sea.

A limited-edition CD with three tracks will also be on sale on the night for €5 with proceeds going to Clifden RNLI, which saw the naming of its latest lifeboat Celia Mary last October.

Tony Hiney, RNLI community fundraising manager, said: “We are absolutely delighted that a singer of Sean’s stature and popularity has decided to make such a wonderful musical tribute to our lifeboat volunteers.

“We wish to thank him and his team for their support and we look forward to a wonderful evening celebrating our mutual appreciation and support.”

Tickets for Sean Keane’s ‘Heroes of the Waters’ special concert are available from The Station House Hotel and The Celtic Shop, Main St, Clifden.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - In the East Cork lifeboat station’s first callout of 2018, Youghal  RNLI was requested to launch at 1.02pm on Wednesday 10 January to reports of a fishing vessel that was taking on water.

The lifeboat proceeded to the location of the fishing boat, with one onboard, near Whiting Bay. Conditions saw a choppy sea state at the time, with a moderate southeasterly breeze.

Helmed by Erik Brooks and with crew members Liam Keogh, Mick Brooks and Eddie Hennessy onboard, the lifeboat reached the vessel and quickly assessed the situation to find a good deal of water onboard.

Two of the crew boarded the boat with a salvage pump and started to pump the water overboard.

Waterford’s Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 arrived on scene to give air assistance and stayed in the area until the vessel was returned safely to Buttimer’s Quay and Youghal Coast Guard.

Speaking following the callout, Youghal RNLI helm Erik Brooks said: “The skipper did the right thing by calling for help quickly today and we were delighted to bring the fisherman and boat to safety.

“We would remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always respect the water. Always carry a means of communication with you when you are on the water and remember to let someone ashore know when you leave and when you are due back.”

In other Irish lifeboat news, Clifden RNLI's all-weather lifeboat Fisherman’s Friend was requested to launch at 8.50am on Tuesday morning (9 January) to investigate reports of a white light west off Eeshal Island in Co Galway.

At 9.10am, the all-weather lifeboat was underway to investigate with six volunteer crew on board and in difficult weather conditions of 3-4 metre seas and a south easterly Force 7-8 wind.

The boat proceeded to Eeshal Island and conducted a thorough search around Omey Island, Aughris Point and Cruagh Island.

When nothing was found after some time, Malin Head Coast Guard was satisfied that the light seen was most likely from a 25m fishing vessel that had passed by the area that morning and did not indicate a vessel in difficulty.

Clifden RNLI coxswain James Mullen said later: “This call was reported with good intent and we would like to thank the member of the public for their vigilance.

“Given the prevailing weather conditions this morning, the all-weather boat was an excellent asset and well done to all the crew for assembling and launching so quickly.”

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#RNLI - Clifden RNLI officially named its new D class lifeboat Celia Mary at a special ceremony and service of dedication held yesterday (Saturday 21 October) in the Connemara coastal town.

The honour of handing over the lifeboat and officially naming her went to the donor Peter Ross, husband of the late Celia.

He was accompanied at the ceremony in the Station House Hotel by his family and Celia’s best friend Rea Hollis, who has made a generous donation towards the running costs of Clifden Lifeboat Station.

Celia, who was from East Sussex but was of Irish descent, died three years ago shortly after her 79th birthday. She had always wanted to fund a lifeboat.

A much-loved wife and mother of five children, Celia spent many years living self-sufficiently and keeping cows and sheep. She had a great sense of humour and her kitchen was the focal point of her village.

Her idyllic life came to an end when rheumatoid arthritis took hold. But despite suffering from subsequent ill health, this did not stop her from becoming a respected antiques dealer until what has been described as her indomitable spirit succumbed and she passed away.

During the ceremony, Niamh McCutcheon, a member of the Irish Council of the RNLI, accepted the lifeboat on behalf of the charity from Peter Ross, before handing her over into the care of Clifden Lifeboat Station.

During her address, McCutcheon praised the efforts of all those who supported the work of the station.

“In 2017, Clifden RNLI has been requested to respond to 17 call outs, with a total of 26 launches, bringing 18 people to safety between the three different lifeboats on station here. You cannot put a price on the impact that has on people’s lives, whether they are volunteers or casualties.

“Our lifesavers could not have answered those calls for help without the support they receive from fellow volunteers on the shore: the fundraisers, the launch crew and the station management. In fact the whole of the RNLI depends on those people who represent our charity in the community.”

Lifeboat operations manager John Brittain accepted the lifeboat on behalf of Clifden RNLI ahead of the blessing in a service of dedication led by Father James Ronayne and the Very Reverend Stan Evans. The lifeboat was then officially named by Peter Ross.

Brittain said the event was a special occasion for the lifeboat station, adding that the crew were most grateful to Peter for his generous gift in memory of his wife which had funded the lifeboat.

“Celia always wanted a lifeboat, and now she has one in Clifden,” he said. “While her lifeboat may be a little far from her family, we have been told by her loved ones that Celia, who was of Irish descent, would have revelled in the beauty of Galway, Connemara and the Atlantic coast.”

The D class Celia Mary replaces the Grainne Uaile which served Clifden RNLI for the last 10 years. During that time, the lifeboat launched 62 times, bringing 20 people to safety.

Originally introduced in 1963, the D class has evolved into a highly capable modern lifeboat. It is the workhorse of the RNLI’s fleet and is ideal for working close inshore, near rocks or in shallow water in moderate conditions. It can be righted by the crew if it capsizes and is also part of the RNLI flood rescue team’s fleet of boats.

She comes into her own for searches and rescues in the surf, shallow water and confined locations - often close to cliffs, among rocks and even inside caves.

The RNLI established a lifeboat station in Clifden in early 1988 when a C class lifeboat was put on service for one season’s evaluation. The following year, Clifden RNLI became fully operational as a summer season-only lifeboat station.

In 1997, an Atlantic 21 lifeboat was placed on service and a new boathouse for the lifeboat and a tractor was completed in August 1998. A new D class lifeboat was placed on service in May 1998, and the following year it was joined by a new Atlantic 75 B class lifeboat which remained stationed until June 2013 when it was replaced by the Atlantic 85 named Joyce King.

A crowd of well wishers turned up to see the lifeboat officially named, with a bottle of champagne poured over the side of the boat before it launched at the end of the ceremony.

Among the guests on the platform party were Pearse Hyland, chair of the Lifeboat Management Group, who welcomed guests and opened proceedings, and inshore lifeboat mechanic Andy Bell, who gave a vote of thanks and closed proceedings.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Clifden RNLI’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats were launched shortly before 1pm on Sunday 8 October when a boat with six on board got into difficulty in the Killary Harbour area.

The location of the craft was unclear in the early stages as Clifden’s inshore D class lifeboat was driven by road to Renvyle by driver Neil Gallery and launched at Lettergesh Beach, while the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was launched in Clifden.

The D class lifeboat, crewed by Alan Pryce, Kenneth Flaherty and Kieran Folan, swiftly located the boat and six passengers near Frehill island. They had been out for a fishing trip when their engine failed.

Shortly after, the Atlantic 85 lifeboat crewed by Joe Acton, Owen Hayes and Alvin Bell as the D Class already had the casualty boat under tow.

Four of the six passengers were transferred to the Atlantic 85, Joyce King, and returned to shore at Rossroe from where they had originally set out.

The other two remained onboard their own boat, which was towed back to shore by the D Class lifeboat, Granuaile.

Clifden’s all-weather lifeboat Fisherman’s Friend was also launched to provide additional cover for the rescue operation, but was stood down when the two inshore lifeboats had the situation under control.

Speaking following the callout, Clifden RNLI helm Alan Pryce said: “Luckily the weather conditions were calm at the time and due to our launch site we were able to locate the boat quickly.

“The area is known for its rip currents in the area and can be dangerous so we were glad to have been able to attend and assist as quickly as possible once the alarm was raised."

Pryce added: “We remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always go prepared and respect the water.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Volunteer lifeboat crew at Clifden RNLI are celebrating the news that their all-weather lifeboat is to be permanently allocated at the Connemara lifeboat station following a successful trial which has seen 50 launches by the lifeboat crew and 32 people rescued or assisted. They are now hoping that their good luck rubs off on their fellow countymen this weekend and that the Galway hurlers bring home the Liam MacCarthy cup.

The RNLI and the GAA have announced a major partnership this year for the charity’s Respect the Water drowning prevention campaign aimed at sharing lifesaving advice and information through the sporting organisation’s clubs. In celebrating their good news, lifeboat crew from Clifden RNLI proudly flew the Galway colours in support of the county’s hurlers who are due to play Waterford in the All Ireland final.

The volunteer lifeboat crew first took ownership of an all-weather lifeboat in August 2014 when the Pride and Spirit was officially put on service and became a declared search and rescue asset for a trial period. The lifeboat operated alongside the two inshore lifeboats at the station. The decision followed an in-depth review of lifeboat cover in the area.

John Brittain, Clifden RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager confirmed that the station had received word from the RNLI Trustees that the trial had been a success and the lifeboat will be made permanent.

‘The all-weather lifeboat has enabled us to provide lifesaving cover in all weathers up to 100 miles off the Connemara coast and it has complemented our inshore lifeboat service. During the trial period the all-weather lifeboat has enabled us to assist in and complete medical evacuations from the island of Inishbofin and Inishturk as well as providing assistance to a variety of boats and people in distress.

‘I would like to commend the dedication of our volunteer crew members here in Clifden who have devoted their time to ensure the period of change and training was a success. It is thanks to their efforts that we are now able to provide this service permanently to the Connemara community and to anyone who may find themselves in distress at sea.’

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#RNLI - Clifden RNLI launched their inshore and all-weather lifeboats on Tuesday night (27 July) to reports of a pleasure boat in difficulty east of Davillaun Island.

The eight people on board had been to Inishbofin for the day and were returning home when the weather turned, becoming wet and foggy.

The volunteer lifeboat crew was requested to launch by Malin Head Coast Guard at 6.58pm to assist the broken down pleasure craft. 

Once the Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat was on scene, one of the RNLI crew boarded the pleasure boat to assist the casualties and to secure a tow line. 

Four of the casualties were then transferred onto the lifeboat where they received casualty care while the remaining four people stayed on the pleasure boat as it was towed towards the pier at Aughris, over an hour away.

When the Mersey class all-weather lifeboat arrived, all eight casualties were put on board and taken inside to warm up. The RNLI crew also radioed ahead to request an ambulance to meet them at Aughris as one of the group required further medical attention.

The casualty was assessed by paramedics and transferred to hospital for further treatment. The remaining seven people disembarked the lifeboat at the pier.

“This callout shows how conditions can change quite quickly at sea,” said Clifden RNLI lifeboat helm Daniel Whelan. “Visibility became poor as the weather deteriorated. Thankfully we have a fast responding Atlantic 85 lifeboat and a well-trained crew. Having the all-weather lifeboat provide cover was invaluable, providing warmth and comfort for the casualties.

Safety at sea is so important. Wear plenty of layers. Tell someone your plan and bring a suitable form of communication. The group in trouble did all of this which made it much easier to locate them.”

Clifden RNLI coxswain David Barry added: “This was a very successful callout with both lifeboat crew working well together to bring the casualties to safety. It was a beautiful day but the weather turned as the evening approached. We wish the patient a speedy recovery.”

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#RNLI - Clifden RNLI’s all-weather Mersey Class lifeboat Fisherman's Friend was launched at 1.30pm on Saturday (1 July) to go to the assistance of a fishing vessel adrift six miles off Slyne Head in Co Galway.

The 11m vessel had been en route from Baltimore to Blacksod before it suffered engine problems in challenging weather conditions, with a 2m swell and Force 6 wind blowing from the north west.

The skipper requested some water to try and get his engine going again. The lifeboat crew assisted, and this initially solved the problem. However, the engine soon stalled again, and the lifeboat crew proceeded to establish a towline.

At 3.30pm the vessel was put under tow and returned to Clifden Bay. The tow took just over two hours to complete.

Speaking following the callout, coxswain John Mullen said: “We dropped the skipper off on the visitor’s moorings in Clifden Bay with the assistance of the inshore D Class lifeboat. 

“It was a good call out for the all-weather lifeboat in challenging conditions. We would like to wish the fisherman well and thank all the crew involved.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Clifden RNLI has carried out two medical evacuations from the island of Inishbofin off Connemara since Friday (23 June).

The pagers first sounded at 11.15am on Friday in response to a call for the medevac of an elderly woman in need of hospital treatment.

Clifden's D Class inshore lifeboat and crew were already on the water in Clifden Bay carrying out a scheduled exercise when they were called to transfer to the Atlantic 85, helmed by Joe Acton, that arrived at the island before the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118, which was also tasked.

Lifeboat crew member Sinead Pryce assisted the casualty, and the lifeboat and helicopter worked together to ensure a seamless transfer.

The following morning (Saturday 24 June), pagers once again sounded shortly after 7.15am after a woman on Inishbofin had become suddenly unwell.

The all-weather boat Fisherman’s Friend was requested to respond and a crew was assembled including coxswain Alan Pryce, mechanic Robert King, navigator Owen Hayes and crew Brian Ward and Neil Gallery.

The casualty was transferred to the all-weather boat by the crew and island nurse and taken to Cleggan Pier where an ambulance was waiting.

Speaking following the callouts, Clifden RNLI lifeboat operations manager John Brittain said: “It has been a busy summer week for the Clifden lifeboats with three launches taking place involving our different boats in different scenarios.

“I want to thank the crew for responding to their pagers promptly in these cases so that we can continue to carry out this vital service in our local community.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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