Air Corps drops in on farmer stranded on lake island
Published 11/01/2010 | 05:00
ISLANDER John Connell would not be moved from the home he has lived in all his life on Lough Ree in Co Westmeath, even as the Air Corps came to the rescue yesterday.
Well known to anglers, Mr Connell (75) is the only person who still lives on the islands off the lake near Athlone that has turned into a massive sheet of ice.
But farmers are desperate to save their animals who have become stranded on the islands since the freeze began. Hundreds of marooned cows, horses and sheep got some relief for the first time yesterday when an Air Corps helicopter began a series of fodder drops.
The rescue services also checked in on the elderly islander. But Mr Connell said he preferred to stay put. "I'm very thankful to them all as the lake is frozen and the animals could do with a feed," he said.
The Air Corps sent out a helicopter with bales of feed following requests from farmers. "We are dropping bales of hay out to three or four of the islands. Local farmers are going in the helicopter and then directing the crew where to put it," said an Air Corps spokesperson.