Fears for missing fishing boat crew off Cork coast
Published 15/01/2012 | 11:53
Fears are growing for five people missing after a trawler went down off the west Cork coast.
One survivor was been pulled from the sea close to Union Hall Harbour, where the 21-metre (69ft) Tit Bonhomme was thought to have struck rocks in the early hours of this morning.
The Irish-registered fishing vessel was coming into shore when it got into difficulties beside the Adam and Eve islands, just outside the harbour.
The crew made a distress call to the Coast Guard at around 6am, but it was cut off and all radio contact was lost.
It is understood the captain is Irish.
Coast Guard helicopters from Shannon and Waterford were scrambled to the scene, while lifeboats from Courtmacsherry and Baltimore have been launched.
The survivor found in the water at around 8am has been taken to Cork University Hospital, while five other crew members are still missing.
Strong winds and heavy seas which were hampering the search and rescue mission have calmed.
Vincent O'Donovan, of Courtmacsherry Lifeboat station, said the Tit Bonhomme had taken a battering in the rough waters.
"Conditions had been bad all last night and this morning," he said. "It was force 7 to 8, and it was a south-east wind, which causes difficulties off that coast."
The lifeboat launched shortly after 6am and spotted debris in the water close to the mouth of Union Hall harbour, believed to be wreckage from the trawler, around an hour and a half later.
Initial reports suggested two more survivors had made it to onshore rocks, but confusion remains, and the Coast Guard - which is leading the operation - said five people remain missing.
It is understood the man who was pulled from the sea was an Egyptian national.