Lough Derg RNLI launched to assist a family of five onboard cruiser on fire
Earlier today, Sunday July 18, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat to launch following a Mayday call to assist five people on board a 38ft cruiser on fire, by Castle Harbour, Portumna, at the most northern end of Lough Derg.
When the lifeboat crew assembled at the station they were informed by Valentia Coast Guard that three people had been safely evacuated from the vessel.
At 12.16pm the lifeboat Jean Spier launched with helm Keith Brennan, crew Eleanor Hooker, Joe O’Donoghue and Doireann Kennedy on board. The lake was calm and visibility was excellent.
Aoife Kennedy, Lough Derg RNLI Deputy Launching Authority relayed information from Valentia Coast Guard that the remaining two people had been safely evacuated from the burning vessel. Valentia Coast Guard contacted the lifeboat to request that volunteers check the wellbeing of the casualties.
Rescue 115, the Irish Coast Guard Search and Rescue Helicopter based at Shannon was also in attendance, as was the Killaloe Coast Guard Search and Rescue Boat, based at Killaloe.
The lifeboat arrived on scene at 12.35pm. The fire on the casualty vessel had taken hold and fire firefighters from Portumna Fire Service were working to extinguish the fire. The skipper of the casualty vessel was safe and unhurt and in a local boat, which was standing off. All four other casualties were safe and unharmed and were being attended to by ambulance crew at Castle Harbour.
As there was significant risk to the many boat users close by with fuel onboard the vessel, Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat and the Killaloe Coast Guard boat to monitor the scene and request that all vessels maintain a safe distance.
At 1.30pm, fire fighters had managed to put out the main fire, however the vessel was still smouldering and billowing smoke. The anchor line had burned and the vessel was now drifting into a main navigation channel.
At 2.14pm, the casualty vessel was relocated to Carrigahorig Bay, where fire fighters continued to pump water and foam to ensure the fire was fully out.
Valentia Coast Guard thanked Lough Derg RNLI and the Killaloe Coast Guard boat, and both were stood down.
Aoife Kennedy, Deputy Launching Authority at Lough Derg RNLI, advises water users to ‘always be alert to the dangers of fire on a boat and always carry a mean of communication so that you can call the emergency services for help’.
Notes to editors
- Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat station has been operating since 2004. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeboat-stations/lough-derg-lifeboat-station
- A photo of Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/RNLILoughDerg/
RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Eleanor Hooker, Lough Derg RNLI volunteer helm and Lifeboat Press Officer on 0877535207 or Eleanor_Hooker@RNLI.org.uk or Nuala McAloon, Regional Media Officer on 0876483547
Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk or Niamh Stephenson, Regional Media Manager on 0871254124 or
For more information on the RNLI please visit rnli.org. News releases and other media
resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the
RNLI News Centre rnli.org/news-and-media.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around Ireland and the UK. The RNLI operates 46 lifeboat stations in Ireland. The RNLI is independent of government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, the charity has saved over 142,700 lives.
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.