Busy Sunday for search and rescue crews

Busy Sunday for search and rescue crews

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Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015
Kilkee Coast Guard rescue boat – File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

Search and rescue crews had a busy day yesterday responding to several incidents in Clare.

A major multi-agency search and rescue operation was mounted yesterday after a man was reported to be in a distressed state on a cliff in the west of the county.

The alarm was raised at around 1.15pm when an emergency call was made to Gardaí and the Irish Coast Guard.

A call reported that a man, believed of be from Cork, had travelled to the Loop Head area of Clare and was in a distressed state.

The Kilkee unit of the Coast Guard was alerted and sent to the scene while the Shannon based search and rescue helicopter, Rescue 115, was requested to assist.

The helicopter was already in the air in the Foynes area and was able to respond quickly. The Kilrush and Fenit RNLI lifeboat’s along with the Waterford based helicopter, Rescue 117, were also sent to the area to assist.

At around 2.15pm, the crew of Rescue 115 located the man at Oughtard near Cross and guided search teams to the area.

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015
The crew of the Shannon SAR helicopter located the man – File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

Rescue teams found the man apparently sleeping close to the cliff and lead him to safety. The man was airlifted to University Hospital Limerick for treatment.

Not long after that operation was stood down a member of the public called the Irish Coast Guard reporting three swimmers in difficulty in Kilkee Bay in Co Clare.

The local unit of the Coast Guard was scrambled again, quickly launched their boat and raced to the scene.

A message was transmitted on the marine VHF emergency channel requesting any boat users to assist by keeping a look out for the swimmers.

Volunteer search teams located a total of five people who said they were alright and able to make it ashore safely.

Earlier in the day, on the other side of the country, the RNLI went to assistance of 8 people after their boat ran aground on Lough Derg close to the Clare shore.

Photo: Lough Derg RNLI
Photo: Lough Derg RNLI

The alarm was raised at around 11.35am yesterday when the 38 foot cruise boat found itself on the wrong side of a navigation buoy between Dromane Harbour and Hare Island.

The Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat found the boat balanced on a rock with its bow and stern floating.

A crew member was transferred to the vessel and advised the 8 men on board to don their lifejackets. After checking to ensure the was no ingress of water, the cruiser was towed clear of the rock.

After being towed to deeper water a further inspection of the cruiser was carried it and was found not to have been damaged. The group continued on their journey.

Both operations were managed by staff at the Irish Coast Guard marine rescue coordination centre on Valentia Island in Kerry.

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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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