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Courtmacsherry RNLI rescues two sailors 69 miles out during night time call

Lifeboats News Release

Courtmacsherry RNLI was called out just before midnight last night (Monday 17 July) by Valentia Coast Guard to go to the immediate aid of two people onboard a 29ft yacht which had suffered mast, power and mechanical difficulties 69 miles south of Courtmacsherry.

Courtmacsherry RNLI on their return


Courtmacsherry RNLI crew on their return

The lifeboat under Coxswain Mark Gannon and a crew of five assembled from their beds and were underway quickly in darkness, to face into tough weather conditions at sea last night .

The yacht was on passage from Cork to France with two crew members onboard when they got into difficulties in bad weather. As they were unable to raise the alarm on their own VHF radio, they fired two red distress flares which were spotted by a fishing vessel a number of miles away, whose crew immediately alerted the Coast Guard. The lifeboat located the yacht over 69 miles across the Irish sea at 3.15am. In deteriorating sea and weather conditions, a decision was taken to take the yacht in tow and return under a safe speed to the nearest safe port at Courtmacsherry. The kifeboat after an 11 hour tow has now arrived back to Courtmacsherry Pontoon at 2pm and the yacht and its two crew were well pleased to be back to the safety of Courtmacsherry land after a very difficult night and morning.

Brian O'Dwyer, Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: 'It is not very often that red flares are the means of distress communications these days and the importance of having these onboard the yacht was ever so important this morning. It was great to see nearly two voluntary crews and officers arrive quickly at midnight, within minutes of their pagers being activated, in order to help others in distress at sea. We are so proud of how our new Shannon class lifeboat performed in this our longest call out in over a decade and also in very poor conditions.'

The Courtmacsherry lifeboat volunteer crew on today’s marathon 14 hour call out were Coxswain Mark Gannon, mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Ken Cashman, Tadgh McCarthy, Denis Murphy and Donal Young. The lifeboat has now been refuelled and returned to its mooring at 2.45pm in constant readiness of when the next call out might occur.


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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