Arranmore RNLI bring fishing crew to safety after 26-hour rescue mission
Lifeboat crew from Arranmore RNLI finally got to their beds at 1.20am this morning (Tuesday, 6 February) after spending over 26 hours at sea to bring a fishing vessel, with five people onboard, to safety. The Coast Guard requested the Donegal lifeboat to launch on Sunday evening at 10.50pm, after the vessel, which was 48 miles north of Arranmore, reported being in difficulty.
In challenging conditions for the lifeboat crew, with swells of up to five and half metres and winds of up to 60kph, a decision was taken, when on scene, that the safest option would be to establish a tow to bring the fishing vessel to a suitable safe port. A tow had already been attempted with another vessel in the area but it was unsuccessful, with the ropes breaking. With the casualty vessel and lifeboat both pitching in the huge waves, a lifeboat crewmember successfully threw a rope onto the deck of the fishing vessel and a line was established.
Arranmore RNLI took the vessel back to Rathmullen pier in Donegal, at a speed of 1.2 to 3 knots. After a long journey in difficult conditions the Arranmore lifeboat crew were met in Rathmullen by their colleagues from Lough Swilly RNLI, who provided them with warm food before they embarked on the final leg of their journey home.
It was the second callout over the St. Bridget’s bank holiday weekend for Arranmore RNLI, as they had launched to carry out a medical evacuation from the island earlier on the Sunday, bringing a casualty to Burtonport, where an ambulance met them.
Commenting on the callout Arranmore RNLI Coxswain Jimmy Early said, ‘Seven lifeboat crew left their homes on the Sunday evening and didn’t return home until the early hours of Tuesday morning. Behind them all are loved ones and employers who let us do this work and to whom we are very grateful. The conditions were not ideal for such a long shout, particularly establishing a tow miles out to sea, in darkness, and where the vessels were pitching up and down in the high waves. One of our lifeboat crew had to throw a line across to the casualty vessel and did so successfully on the first attempt.
‘I am extremely grateful to the lifeboat crew who come out in all weathers, whatever the call and who give their time and expertise to bring loved ones home. Thankfully for such a long time at sea, it ended successfully.’