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Kilkeel RNLI respond to Mayday in early hours to help fishing vessel crew

Lifeboats News Release

Kilkeel RNLI responded to a Mayday in the early hours of yesterday morning (Sunday 24 February) after a fishing vessel got into difficulty.

RNLI/Leslie Campbell

Kilkeel RNLI's volunteer crew including helm Gerry Smyth, Andrew McConnell, Mark McCullough and Robert Tomkins launched the inshore lifeboat and responded to the Mayday call at 5.40am. The fishing boat had lost propulsion about half a mile off the Kilkeel Harbour in very foggy conditions.

The crew quickly located the vessel and having spoken to the skipper, the helm decided to put crew member Andrew McConnell aboard to safely secure a tow rope.

The fishing boat was safely towed in and was assisted in berthing by the Coastguard team.

The crew returned safely to the boathouse at 6.25am.

Speaking following the call out, Kilkeel RNLI Helm Gerry Smyth said: ‘The call out was something our volunteers train for on a regular basis but this time the foggy conditions and the low tide made the tow more difficult than usual. The lifeboat crew were delighted to help and handled the call out in a thoroughly professional manner. We wish the fishermen well.’


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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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