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Achill RNLI help rescue stranded hill walkers

Lifeboats News Release

Achill RNLI was requested late last night (Thursday 5 January), at approximately 10.20pm by Malin Head Coast Guard to help locate and rescue two adult male hill walkers who were in distress in the vicinity of Mweelrea mountain in Killary fjord, Connemara.

RNLI/Nuala McAloon

The Coast Guard helicopter was unable to operate because of low visibility and in a joint operation Achill RNLI, Mayo Mountain Rescue and the Westport Coast Guard combined forces to effect a very challenging rescue.

Achill RNLI’s lifeboat crew were able to locate the hill walkers on the steep cliff face, near Rossroe harbour and then deployed their XP boat, a small dinghy, to transfer seven members of the Mayo Mountain Rescue Team to the cliff face in very difficult conditions. The Mountain Rescue Team was then able to reach the two people and gradually bring them down the two hundred feet or so of the cliff face, where Achill RNLI’s crew could ferry them to the waiting lifeboat The Sam and Ada Moody.

In a lengthy operation under low cloud, fog, rain and gusty winds the Achill RNLI crew went to and fro’ between lifeboat and cliff ferrying the Mountain Rescue team and the hill walkers back to the lifeboat. Here they were given first aid treatment, transferred to Rossroe pier and here handed over to the care of Westport Coast Guard, after suffering from hypothermia and exhaustion.

Achill RNLI Coxswain Dave Curtis described the condition of the rescued men as 'cold, wet and miserable' and the weather conditions as extremely difficult.

Speaking following the call out, Achill RNLI mechanic Stephen McNulty said: 'This was a great example of teamwork between the different rescue agencies. The voluntary crew of Achill RNLI is always ready for call out and this is where the training and commitment across the team really pays off. A happy ending is what we always hope for and thankfully that was the case last night.'

Of the two men rescued from the cliff face Stephen said: 'They enjoyed a nice cup of soup on board the Achill RNLI lifeboat – I’m sure it seemed like the best soup they had ever tasted!'

After some eight hours the Achill RNLI crew arrived back at the lifeboat station around 06.30am this morning (6 January).


RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Edward Gielty, Achill RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at or Nuala McAloon RNLI Press Officer on 087 648 3547 or email or Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager on 087 1254 124 or 01 8900 460 email

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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.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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