Arranmore RNLI rescues kayaker in difficulty on rocks at Owey Island
Arranmore RNLI rescued a kayaker on rocks at Owey Island yesterday (Sunday 10 September).
The volunteer crew were asked to launch their all-weather lifeboat by Malin Head Coast Guard at 2.50pm to reports of a kayaker in difficulty on rocks at Owey Island, a five minute journey from the RNLI station.
On arrival at the scene, the lifeboat was joined by the Bunbeg Coast Guard boat, the Irish Coast Guard Rescue 118 helicopter from Sligo and local boats. The lifeboat located the empty kayak and proceeded to search the area around Owey Island and the wider area in search of the missing kayaker but was unable to locate him.
Arranmore RNLI mechanic Philip McCauley suggested to Malin Head Coast Guard that the caves at Owey Island were a popular exploration spot for kayakers and canoes and they proceeded to search the area where the casualty was located by the Bunbeg Coast Guard drone.
The kayaker was going to explore the cave when a large swell backed him into the opening, overturned his boat and tossed him onto the rocks. He had managed to alert the Coast Guard and clung onto the rocks until he was located by the lifeboat. Sea conditions at the area made the rescue more difficult with a high ground swell and breaking surf.
As the tide turned and sea conditions improved, the lifeboat launched the Y boat (small inflatable daughter boat capable of entering shallow water and small confined areas launched from the stern of the lifeboat) with volunteer crew members Evan O’Donnell and JJ O’Donnell onboard and they proceeded into the cave where they brought the casualty onboard and transferred him to the lifeboat for assessment.
The lifeboat then transferred the casualty to the Bunbeg Coast Guard boat and the crew took him ashore and he was subsequently taken onboard Rescue 118 for transfer to Letterkenny University Hospital.
Arranmore RNLI crew on the service were Coxswain Seán O’Donnell, mechanic Philip McCauley, volunteer crew members Aisling Cox, Evan O’Donnell, JJ O’Donnell, Jamie Neeson, Sharon O'Donnell and Mickey Dubh Mc Hugh.
Speaking on return from service lifeboat mechanic Philip McCauley said: We are really pleased at the positive outcome of this call, I would particularly like to commend our two crew members JJ O’Donnell and Evan O’Donnell who were in charge of the Y boat in challenging sea conditions and brought the casualty to safety - they did a fantastic job and we are lucky to have crew members of their calibre onboard the crew. All our volunteer crew members are very dedicated and don’t hesitate to answer the call to save lives’.
Coxswain Sean O’Donnell also thanked the boats from the local area who provided assistance in the search. He said: 'This was a great joint effort with the Bunbeg Coast Guard boat, Rescue 118 and all the boats who took part in this rescue. It was this joint cooperation between all the rescue services and the local boat crews that was instrumental in bringing a positive outcome in the search and saving the life of the man.'
Meanwhile, on Saturday, the crew were called out at 6.40pm to a medical evacuation from the island where they transferred the patient to a waiting ambulance in Burtonport to be brought to Letterkenny University Hospital for assessment.
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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