A lone fisherman was rescued this afternoon after his vessel suffered engine problems and was left drifting close to cliffs in West Clare.
The alarm was raised at around 11.45 this morning when a 30ft fishing boat was reported to be in difficulty in Kilbaha Bay. The boat was reported to be drifting dangerously close to the shore after suffering engine failure.
The Irish Coast Guard was alerted to the incident and issued a radio message to other vessels in the area to assist if they were in a position to do so. In the meantime, the Kilrush RNLI lifeboat was tasked to the incident while the Kilkee unit of the Irish Coast Guard was also alerted and sent a team and rescue boat by road to Kilbaha.
As the Shannon-based Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 115, was unavailable at the time, Rescue 117 located at Waterford Airport requested to assist.
Two fishing vessels that had been in the area responded to the Coast Guard request for assistance and made their way to the area. One boat located the casualty vessel and managed to tow it to safety.
The fishing boat had remained afloat but had been pushed into the cliffs. It’s understood the fisherman had deployed his personal flotation device as a precaution while he waited for assistance to arrive.
On arrival at the scene the crew of the RNLI lifeboat from Kilrush took the vessel on tow into the safety of Kilbaha where they were met by Coast Guard volunteers from Kilkee.
Rescue 117, which was en route to the scene from Waterford, was stood down when it was confirmed that the boat had been towed to safety. As the helicopter crew returned to base, they were retasked to a medical evacuation from Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands.
An Irish Air Corps maritime patrol aircraft, which was operating a short distance away at the time, offered assistance and remained in the area until the situation had been safely resolved.
The operation was coordinated by watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine sub centre on Valentia Island in Kerry.