Men swim to safety after boat hits bridge

Men swim to safety after boat hits bridge


The bridge that connects Killaloe to Ballina – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2019

Three men were forced to abandon their lake boat and jump into the River Shannon after they collided with a bridge.

The alarm was raised at around 3.50pm when watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre on Valentia island in Kerry received a report that a 19-foot lake boat had collided with the bridge that connects Killaloe, Co Clare with Ballina in Tipperary.

It’s understood that the boat had lost engine power, was taken with the strong current and forced into Killaloe bridge close to the Clare shore. All three occupants, who were all wearing lifejackets, then entered the water and were able to make it ashore on the Tipperary side.

The river is about 160 metres wide at the location and it’s understood the men swam over 100 metres to the other side.

The Killaloe Coast Guard Unit launched their rescue boat and reached the scene within minutes.

On arrival they found that the three occupants had made their way across the river against the strong current and had climbed out of the water. They were accessed at the scene and found not to require medical assistance.

It’s understood the three had set out earlier from Twomilegate on the Clare shore to go fishing and that their boat lost engine power and was left drifting at the mercy of the river.

The Coast Guard took the casualty vessel on tow back to Ballina slipway where it was recovered from the water. A Coast Guard mobile unit transported the occupants back to Twomilegate where they had transport waiting for them.

A Coast Guard spokesman said: “This was a very lucky escape for the occupants on board and highlighted the importance of everyone on board having a lifejacket on at all times.”

Six men were safely evacuated from this cruise boat after it collided with the bridge in March – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2019

On March 31st last, Killaloe Coast Guard evacuated six men from a cruiser after it collided with the bridge at Ballina/Killaloe.

The men were safely transferred from the casualty vessel to the Coast Guard rescue boat and brought ashore. The decision to take the occupants off the cruiser was made after it was found to have been holed and taking on water.

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.