Ill crewman airlifted from vessel off Clare

Ill crewman airlifted from vessel off Clare


Shannon Coast Guard Helicopter
The Shannon Coast Guard helicopter preparing to take off on a mission – File Image © Pat Flynn, 2014

The Irish Coast Guard airlifted a crew member from a fishing trawler off the Clare coast yesterday.

The man in his 40’s had been unwell for several days but his condition deteriorated overnight on Tuesday forcing the captain to request a medical evacuation (medevac).

The sailor had received medical advice from a doctor on Tuesday but at the time it was thought he was stable. The patient opted to remain on board to see if his condition improved while being monitored by other crew members. At the time, the trawler was west of Clifden in Co Galway.

Staff the Irish Coast Guard’s Valentia Island station had facilitated a link call between a fishing vessel and Medico Cork, a medical maritime assistance service based at Cork University Hospital.

Doctors at Medico ascertained that the casualty was stable and set up regular calls with the vessel to check on his condition.

On Tuesday night however, the man became increasingly worse and at 7.00am yesterday, it was decided to take the crew member off the vessel.

The Shannon based Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 1-1-5, took off at 8.00am and reached the trawler about 45 minutes later. The trawler was about 40 nautical miles (75 kilometres) west of Loophead in Co Clare at the time.

A paramedic was lowered onto the deck of the vessel and after assessing and stabilising the patient, he was airlift to Tralee General Hospital for treatment where the helicopter set down at around 10.00am.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday the Sligo based search and rescue helicopter carried out one of it’s longest missions to date.

Rescue 1-1-8 travelled 450km out over the Atlantic to airlift a fisherman with had sustained crush injuries on board a fishing trawler.

An Irish Air Corps CASA maritime patrol fixed wing aircraft provided ’top cover’ support for the mission.

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 sailor was airlifted to Sligo General Hospital for treatment.

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.