An Irish Coast Guard/CHC Ireland search and rescue helicopter winchman/paramedic has been honoured for his efforts to save two Italian brothers who got into difficulty while visit the Aran Islands in 2019.
Philip Wrenn has been recognised for his bravery in rescuing the brothers during the offshore mission. The brothers, Giovanni and Ricardo Zanon, were holidaying in Ireland when they fell 20 metres from a cliff and were washed into the sea at a notorious black spot on Inis Mór known as the Worm Hole.
Minister of State at the Department of Transport Hildegarde Naughton said: “Phil Wrenn is a deserving recipient of the award and his actions that night on Poll an bPeist – Inis Mór, demonstrates a level of professionalism and commitment that I have no doubt is a great source of pride not alone to his immediate colleagues but to anybody who is involved in Search and Rescue. I am delighted to present this award to Phil today, and to honour the extraordinary work of our Coast Guard.”
The daring rescue mission was featured on TG4’s Tabú documentary television series.
Eugene Clonan, Director Irish Coast Guard said: “It is the role of the Irish Coast Guard to provide assistance to anyone in distress at sea and Philip’s selfless act of bravery exemplifies the actions of all Coast Guard activities in this area along with the County Council Life Guards and declared resources of the RNLI and Community Inshore Rescue Service.”
Robert Tatten, CHC General Operations Manager Ireland, noted: “The award being presented was very appropriate as the Bog Oak Sculpture by Irish sculptor, Brendan Collum, entitled ”Entwined” reminds us that all our lives are entwined, even with strangers we may not have yet met. Philip saved two people he had never met at Inis Mor without thought for his own safety, but his experience and the intense training he and all CHC staff go through enabled him to make that rescue safely.”
In accepting the award Philip said: “I am accepting this award on behalf of the whole team on Rescue 115. As a team we work together to execute a rescue and I am only one member of that team. Without the professionalism and experience of all the crew that rescue could have had a very different outcome, but happily two people were rescued and I am very happy to have played a small role in that.”
Philip’s bravery has already been recognised as a recipient of 2020 Billy Deacon Award which is presented to Winchmen and/or Winch Operators for meritorious service during Search and Rescue helicopter operations within the Irish and UK SAR regions.