Wednesday 18 October 2017

Transcript of the heartbreaking emergency calls made from 'Tit Bonhomme'

FIRST CALL – 5.46am:

Kevin: "Hello . . . we need a helicopter quick . . . we are after hitting the island on the way into Union Hall."

Operator (999/ Ballyshannon): "Caller, do you need garda, ambulance or coastguard?"

Kevin: ". . . on the way into Union Hall . . . we need a helicopter quick . . ."

Operator: "Do you need help in Cork?"

Unidentified second voice: "Yes, we are at, helicopter please, we are after hitting the island off . . . going into Union Hall. Boat is aground, the vessel . . . is the 'Tit Bonhomme', please hurry."

Call transferred to Bandon garda station

Garda: "Hello, Bandon garda station."

Unidentified voice: "Hold it . . . one minute now . . . I'm here."

Call then ends. Garda John O'Neill is unable to contact the caller.

SECOND CALL – 5.49am:

Operator: "Emergency service."

Kevin: "We need a helicopter, quick."

Operator: "Do you need garda, ambulance, fire or coastguard?"

Kevin: "What?"

Operator: "Do you need garda, ambulance, fire or coastguard?"

Kevin: "Yes, coastguard please . . . we are at sea here . . . please can you get a helicopter . . . we are after hitting the island going into Union Hall."

Michael Hayes (skipper): "Send the helicopter immediately . . . she (is) three-quarters sunk."

Operator: "Caller, are you in Cork?"

Michael: "Please hurry up, please . . . it's come off the rocks . . . just get on . . . scramble the helicopter . . . I'll talk to you then . . . please scramble the helicopter . . . ah s**t."

Coastguard (Valentia): "What is the nature of your emergency."

Kevin: "We need a boat . . . we need a helicopter. We're sinking . . . we're going underwater. We are three-quarters underwater, please."

Coastguard: "What is your position?"

Second voice: "The island off Union Hall for f***s sake. Agh . . . we're at . . . we're at Union Hall . . . come on, we're going to capsize."

Call then ends. Major air-sea rescue is launched at 5.54am.

Irish Independent

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