Two crew members, seriously injured on board a Dutch super-trawler overnight, have been airlifted to hospital by an Irish Coast Guard helicopter.
The ‘Zeeland’, a 114m (374ft) – 6,000 tonne fish factory based in Scheveningen, had been operating about 170 nautical miles (315kms) west off Loop Head in Co Clare when the ship’s captain raised the alarm late last night.
Weather conditions in the area at the time prevented the Irish Coast Guard from dispatching a helicopter to meet the vessel. Winds reaching Storm Force 8 and high seas were reported in the area at the time.
The ship’s captain instead set course for the Irish coast to shorten the distance the helicopter would have to travel to rendezvous with it when conditions improved.
At around 7.00am, as the trawler was just approaching the mouth of the Shannon Estuary the crew of the Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter were ready to take off and meet the vessel.
On reaching the scene, just south of Loop Head, Rescue 115’s winchman/paramedic was lowered onto the vessel’s deck and quickly set about assessing the casualties.
Both were assessed and treated before being placed in stretchers and winched on board the helicopter.
Rescue 115 spent almost 90 minutes hovering on scene before both casualties were taken on board and the crew departed shortly after 9.00am to make their way to University Hospital Limerick.
About 20 minutes later, the helicopter was met at the landing pad at UHL by National Ambulance Service paramedics who transported the two crew members to the emergency department for treatment.
The helicopter crew returned to their base in Shannon shortly before 11.00am almost four hours after setting off on the mission.
The crew of the Waterford-based Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 117, were also placed on standby to assist their Shannon colleagues if required.
Assistance was also provided by Medico Cork a 24-hour/year-round emergency tele-medical support service provided by staff at Cork University Hospital.
The circumstances of the incident in which that two crew members were injured aren’t clear but they are said to have sustained serious injuries.
The operation was mounted and managed by watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre on Valentia Island in Kerry.