Charity rower rescued by Coast Guard in Killaloe

Charity rower rescued by Coast Guard in Killaloe


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

A charity rower had to be rescued from the River Shannon in Co Clare this afternoon after he got into difficulty in the strong currents.

The alarm was raised at around 2.30pm when the man contacted watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre on Valentia Island in Kerry.

He reported that he had gotten into difficulty while rowing in the strong currents on the River Shannon at Killaloe bridge and was holding onto a navigation marker.

The Killaloe unit of the Coast Guard was tasked and requested to launch their rescue boat..

After getting caught in the current, which was pulling him quickly towards the bridge, he managed to reach out and grab onto one of the navigation markers leading into the structure. He was able to secure his vessel before calling for assistance.

The bridge, which links Killaloe in Clare and Ballina Co Tipperary, is about 160 metres wide and made up of 13 arches not all of which boats can pass through. The official navigation channel is through the central arches of the bridge where the current was reported to be particularly strong today.

Killaloe Coast Guard on a shout on Lough Derg – File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2019

Coast Guard volunteers launched a rescue boat from their nearby base and reached the scene within minutes.

The man was transferred onto the Coast Guard boat and taken to safety. His vessel was secured and taken on tow to the slipway in Ballina where a Coast Guard shore team was waiting. He was assessed by first responders and although ’shaken’, was found not to be in need of medical assistance.

He was expected to resume his charity row tomorrow morning.

Just last month, three men had a lucky escape after their lake boat collided with the same bridge forcing them to abandon their vessel and swim against the current to safety.

In April, Killaloe Coast Guard evacuated six men from a cruiser after it collided with the bridge and began to take 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.