Kilrush RNLI volunteers receive commendations for saving three lives
Five Kilrush RNLI volunteers have received meritorious awards from the RNLI for their part in a rescue carried out in 2020, that saved the lives of three people, in storm force conditions.
For their support to the station during the call out, Shannon Foynes Port Company were also recognised by the charity.
On Monday (10 July), Anna Classon, RNLI Head of Region presented helm Tom Blunnie with a RNLI Chairman’s Letter of Thanks and volunteer lifeboat crew members, Ian Lynch, Charlie Glynn and Ger Keane, with a Chief Executive’s Commendation. Fintan Keating, Kilrush Lifeboat Launching Authority, received a Lifesaving Operations Director’s Letter of Commendation for his role in the service and a Operations Director’s Commendation was awarded to Shannon Foynes Port Company for their collaborative and valued support in the rescue.
On 28 June 2020 at 11.25pm, Kilrush Lifeboat station was notified by Valentia Coast Guard that a 7m vessel with three people onboard was in grave danger, seven nautical miles south-west of Kilrush lifeboat station and the lifeboat was requested to launch.
Weather conditions were near storm force from the north-west, with squally rain, poor visibility and heavy swell in the Shannon estuary. High water was due just after midnight and the flood tide would contribute to a worsened sea state. Fintan Keating, alongside Deputy Launching Authorities Shawna Johnson and Paul Coady, considered and accepted the launch request.
Upon launch, further communications confirmed the casualty crew were attempting to move their vessel to the harbour at Carrigaholt. However, they had suffered engine failure and were taking on water, drifting towards shipping lanes.
Kilrush RNLI Helm Tom Blunnie, supported by crew members, Ian Lynch, Charlie Glynn and Ger Keane commenced a search for the casualty. In challenging sea conditions, the casualty vessel was located with assistance from Shannon Foynes Port Company's Pilot Station. On arrival, the casualty crew were unsuccessfully attempting to bail out water, and were quickly transferred from their now submerged boat onto the lifeboat. Working swiftly as one crew, a towline was established, and a course set for Carrigaholt pier. The vessel was safely towed to the pier and the casualties handed into the care of family members. The charity found that the prompt actions ensured three lives were saved.
Kilrush RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Shawna Johnson, acknowledged the tremendous efforts of the team at Kilrush Lifeboat station: ‘I am incredibility proud reading the Letters of Commendation received by the volunteers involved in the rescue. Exceptional leadership, determination and commitment, were used to describe the efforts of our crew. It was a challenging service and undoubtedly the actions of Kilrush RNLI saved three lives.’
In presenting the awards RNLI Head of Region Anna Classon added, ‘It fills me with pride to come to Kilrush and present these awards. The actions of the crew that night, carried out in weather conditions, that were on the operational limits of the station’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat, were incredibly brave. Our volunteers live and work in the communities where these rescues happen, putting aside time with families and in jobs, to go out in all weathers. Every lifeboat launch is about trust; in each other, in the equipment used to save lives, in the training given and in our search and rescue partners.’
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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