A major search was mounted on Lough Derg late last night after three people were reported missing when they hadn’t arrived at their destination.
The Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat and Irish Coast Guard helicopter were tasked to undertake a search for three people and their dog on a small speedboat. They were expected to arrive in Portumna, Co Galway at the northern end of Lough Derg however, when there was no sign of the boat, the alarm was raised.
At 11.45pm, watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre on Valentia Island in Kerry requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch and commence a search for the white speed boat.
The Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 115, was also tasked while Gardaí were dispatched to Portumna Harbour having been informed that this was the intended destination for the missing people.
The Dromineer-based RNLI lifeboat was requested to proceed directly to Portumna Castle Harbour after Gardaí had been informed that there may be a speedboat adrift west of the bay.
At 12.26am, as the lifeboat approached Terryglass Bay, watch officers at Valentia provided a more specific location to search. Soon afterwards, the volunteer lifeboat crew located three people and their dog on board the 12ft speedboat. All on board were found to be safe and unharmed.
The occupants informed their rescuers that after becoming disorientated and lost, they found themselves in the reeds out of sight of the harbour and out of fuel. The lifeboat took the speedboat on an alongside tow to Portumna Castle Harbour, where the casualties were met by Gardaí. They were checked to ensure they did not require further assistance. When it was confirmed they were all unharmed, Rescue 115 was stood down.
Peter Kennedy, Deputy Launching Authority at Lough Derg RNLI, said: “We would advise boat users to plan your passage so that you reach safe harbour before nightfall. Carry a means of communication and let others know when you expect to arrive at your destination. Carry sufficient lifejackets and ensure all on board are wearing theirs.’