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Arklow RNLI responds to two call outs on stormy night

Lifeboats News Release

On a stormy evening last night (Sunday 3 December) at 7.40pm, Arklow RNLI’s volunteers received a pager alert. A large 75ft fishing vessel had lost power and was being towed by another fishing vessel.

RNLI/Mark Corcoran

Within minutes the volunteer crew had launched their lifeboat and in challenging heavy sea conditions, made their way to the reported position eight miles south east of Arklow.

Upon arrival, the Trent class lifeboat RNLB Ger Tigchlearr under Coxswain Ned Dillon approached the vessel so the crew could assess the situation and it was requested that the lifeboat take over the tow to bring the casualty vessel into Arklow Harbour.

Once the tow was established and in high seas with strong north easterly winds and rain, the lifeboat slowly proceeded back to Arklow with the casualty vessel.

As the lifeboat and the fishing vessel were entering Arklow Harbour entrance, a particularly large sea hit both vessels causing the towline to part, Arklow RNLI's crew had to act fast to re establish the tow line before the powerless fishing vessel was blown on to the South Pier.

With just enough time and in treacherous conditions the towline was re established at first attempt and the casualty vessel was pulled out of danger.

The lifeboat then towed the casualty vessel up the Avoca River clear of the breaking seas, eventually getting the vessel and its crew of five to safety further upriver.

The crew for this call out were, Coxswain Ned Dillon, Brendan Dillon, Eddie McElheron, James Russell, Craig O’Reilly and John Tyrrell.

Volunteers hadn’t been long in their beds when the second pager alert came in at 1.20am this morning (4 December), this time there was a report of two people in the water at Arklow harbour and the lifeboat was launched within minutes.

Local Gardai, fire and ambulance teams had also been alerted and arrived on scene.

The casualties were located between two 24m workboats.

Several attempts were made by the interagency rescue team to get the men to shore but to no avail. With the casualties having been in the cold water for a while, they were becoming tired and disoriented. There was also strong north easterly winds and the surge in the harbour increased the risks with the boats in constant motion.

Two lifeboat crew members entered the water to assist in keeping the casualties heads above water. The crew members slowly managed to get a lifting sling around the casualties and they were then safely hoisted out of the water by the fire service. They were then handed over to the ambulance crews waiting on scene.

Following the call outs, Arklow RNLI Coxswain Ned Dillon, said: 'We extend huge thanks to all of our crew who turned up for both call outs, both shore and lifeboat crew. onshore. The call outs were carried out in extremely demanding and dangerous conditions and really showed the level of skills the crew have in achieving a positive outcome in such trying circumstances. In all, seven people were rescued along with a fishing vessel. We would also like to commend our colleagues as the interagency training and exercising that we continue to do with the Gardai, Fire Service, Ambulance and Coast Guard really pays off and helps to make sure we get the right results.'


RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Mark Corcoran, Arklow RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 0868260439, email [email protected] or contact Nuala McAloon RNLI Press Officer on 087 648 3547 or email [email protected] or Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager on 087 1254 124 or 01 8900 460 email [email protected]

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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.

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