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.
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.