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Arranmore RNLI launches for lone fisherman in swamped punt

Lifeboats News Release

Arrnamore RNLI all-weather lifeboat was launched on Saturday evening at 6pm (9 April) when a lone fisherman who was out tending pots in a punt got into difficulty when his punt became swamped near a small group of islands near Arranmore and Gweedore.

The fisherman was winched to safety by the Coast Guard helicopter /Rescue 118 from Sligo in extremely challenging weather conditions which prevented the Arranmore lifeboat from reaching the fisherman.

Arranmore RNLI lifeboat mechanic Philip McAuley said, ‘ Conditions on scene were terrible and the small punt was overwhelmed by huge seas which saw swells of up to 20 feet breaking over the fisherman.  We took the lifeboat as close as we could but it was extremely dangerous.’

The Irish Coast Guard helicopter from Sligo lowered their winchman over the tiny boat and attempted to lift the man from his punt where he has been fishing for crabs and lobster but he had became tangled in his fishing ropes.  After carefully cutting him free the wichman brought him to safety under the watch of the lifeboat crew who stood by to offer assistance if needed.

Philip concluded, ‘ This was a great rescue by our colleagues on Rescue 118 in terrible weather.  The area was hard to access and the tangle of ropes made the rescue of the fisherman very tricky. We work closely with the Coast Guard on many rescues and this one was very challenging callout for everyone concerned. We would like to congratulate Rescue 118 on a very fine job.’


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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

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