Helicopters scrambled to investigate emergency signal

Helicopters scrambled to investigate emergency signal

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Two Irish Coast Guard helicopters were scrambled to investigate the emergency signal - Photo: © Pat Flynn, 2014
Two Irish Coast Guard helicopters were scrambled to investigate the emergency signal – Photo: © Pat Flynn, 2014

 

Two Irish Coast Guard helicopters were scrambled to investigate a transmission from an emergency beacon on a fishing trawler off the Clare coast.

The Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) was received from the vessel on Monday night while it was 200km west of Clare.

As the fishing vessel was outside of VHF radio range, staff at the Irish Coast Guard communications centre on Valentia Island in Kerry could not make contact with the crew despite several attempts.

The Shannon based search and rescue (SAR) helicopter, Rescue 115, was tasked to investigate the matter. The Waterford SAR helicopter, Rescue 117, was also scrambled to assist by providing ‘top-cover’.

Top-cover is when an aircraft is deployed to provide radio communications and other assistance to a rescue helicopter which is too far from land or operating at too low an altitude to be able to communicate by radio with the coordination centre or a casualty vessel.

The crew of the Shannon helicopter eventually made contact with the crew of the fishing who confirmed that there was no issue.

The EPIRB device, which is now believed to have activated accidentally, was reset by the crew.

Both helicopter crews returned to their respective bases.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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