Newcastle and Portaferry RNLI help drifting fishing vessel with five onboard
Portaferry and Newcastle RNLI's volunteer lifeboat crew launched to assist five people onboard a 24m fishing vessel that had been drifting towards Phennick Point outside Ardglass harbour.
Both lifeboat crews responded to the Mayday call at 5.15am today (Wednesday 23 October).
The Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 from Dublin was also tasked along with Newcastle and Portaferry Coastguard rescue teams.
Portaferry and Newcastle RNLI volunteers launched both their lifeboats promptly at 5.30am. Portaferry's inshore lifeboat arrived on scene at 6.03am and Newcastle's all-weather lifeboat arrived on scene at 6.25am. Conditions in Ardglass prior to sunrise were partially cloudy with south westerly winds and the sea state was rough with a maximum swell height of 4m.
As the volunteer crews proceeded towards Ardglass, the fishing vessel was stuck on the rocks and had begun taking on water. When both lifeboats arrived on scene a dynamic risk assessment was carried out and the crews liaised with the skipper of the stranded vessel to formulate a plan to try and save the vessel and rescue her five crew. At this point the vessel was being pushed further onto rocks and was taking on more water.
The Irish Coast Guard helicopter was scrambled and made its way to the scene with extra pumps. Meanwhile Newcastle RNLI assisted by Portaferry RNLI attempted to tow the vessel off the rocks, but due to worsening weather and tidal conditions, it was decided after numerous attempts by the Coxswain to evacuate the crew of the vessel. Due to the weather conditions, the decision was made to airlift the fishing crew by helicopter.
Speaking after the rescue Newcastle RNLI Coxswain Nathan Leneghan said: ‘This morning's rescue was a success due to multi-agency teamwork with our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard, volunteers at Portaferry RNLI and Portaferry and Newcastle Coastguard teams. Thankfully this was positive outcome, and all five fishermen are safe and well'.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.