A search and rescue operation was mounted off the west coast this afternoon after three people on board a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) were forced to abandon their vessel after a fire was reported to have broken out on board.
The alarm was raised shortly before 3.00pm when the crew of the RIB issued a Mayday radio distress call reporting their emergency. It’s understood that the group had been diving in the area about 3 kilometres west of Mace Head in Co Galway .
It’s understood there were three people on board and that they evacuated the vessel to the safety of a life raft.
The Irish Coast Guard quickly mounted a rescue operation dispatching the Clifden and Aran Islands RNLI lifeboats and the Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter, Rescue 115. Two lifeboats were dispatched from Clifden however one was cleared to return to station when it was confirmed the situation was under control.
The operation was coordinated by watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre in Malin Head Co Donegal. Staff there broadcast a radio message requesting any vessels in the area in a position to assist to proceed to the scene.
A fishing boat that was in the area at the time made its way to the scene to offer assistance. The crew of the vessel took the three occupants of the life raft on board and reported they were all unharmed.
The three were taken safely ashore at Inishnee near Roundstone while their RIB was also towed back to the pier at Inishnee, escorted by the Clifden all-weather lifeboat (ALB). Members of the Cleggan unit of the Irish Coast Guard were on hand at Inishnee when they arrived.
Clifden RNLI Coxswain James Mullen said: “While this was obviously a very upsetting thing to happen, the boat was very well equipped and the sailors had taken every safety precaution to deal with an emergency scenario like this. We wish them well and commend their quick actions and also of course the local vessel that went to their aid as quickly as possible, in what have could otherwise have been a disastrous incident today.”