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Monday 25 September 2017

Two fishermen drowned off Donegal coast 'had been rescued from same area before'

Crowds gathered last night on the pier at Teelin in west Donegal where two men left on their boat on Saturday evening Photo: North West Newspix
Crowds gathered last night on the pier at Teelin in west Donegal where two men left on their boat on Saturday evening Photo: North West Newspix

Paddy Clancy and Laura Lynott

Two men who died after they got into difficulty fishing in "notorious" waters had been rescued by the Coast Guard in the same area just four weeks ago.

The bodies of the Lithuanian nationals were recovered yesterday following a search off the coast of Glencolmcille in the west of Co Donegal.

The weekend tragedy happened after a 56-year-old married man and his 40-year-old friend sailed from Teelin Pier on Saturday.

The alarm was raised by locals after the two men did not return to the pier.

The 56-year-old man was last night named locally as Rimantis Barauskas, who lived in Oldcastle, Co Meath. It is understood he was a regular visitor to Donegal. His companion lived in Co Longford.

Mr Barauskas's body was found washed up on the rocks at Malinbeg around 10.30am yesterday.

A short while later, Raimundas Jezdauskas, understood to be aged in his 30s, was found in the water by an Irish Coast Guard crew searching the sea close to Malinbeg.

Mr Jezdauskas had been living in Ballymahon, Co Longford and they are believed to have travelled to Donegal for a fishing trip.

The men’s bodies were recovered from the sea off Malinbeg. Photo: North West Newspix
The men’s bodies were recovered from the sea off Malinbeg. Photo: North West Newspix

It has emerged the men were involved in a rescue operation on the same five-metre rigid inflatable boat (RIB) in the same area just four weeks ago.

A source confirmed to the Irish Independent the two men had run out of fuel near Raithlin O'Beirne Island, just off the coast of Malinbeg, a month ago.

"The tail of the boat was hitting the island and they were taken back to shore. They'd ran out of fuel," the source said.

It is understood the body washed ashore wasn't wearing a lifejacket but there was a lifejacket on the second body. There were also two inflatable jackets on the boat.

The bodies were removed to the morgue at Letterkenny University Hospital where a post-mortem examination will be conducted today.

Shane McCrudden, deputy officer with the Killybegs Coast Guard, said rescuers identified the boat as identical to one on which four people were rescued.

He said: "There were four people on the boat the first time. They had run out of fuel and two of them were without lifejackets. We issued a stern warning to them about being cautious at sea."

Mr McCrudden added that the sea became rough on Saturday night. "Those waters are notorious," he said. Gardaí said the boat was washed ashore on to rocks.

A Malin Head Coast Guard spokesman said: "Gardaí called us this morning at 11am. A body was found on the shore line by a farmer. His land runs down to the shore.

Search

"But it was inaccessible, so gardaí requested the Coast Guard recover the body. We tasked Killybegs Coast Guard and after that we got a phone call from the boat owner in Teelin saying they left after lunch Saturday and their car was still parked at Teelin pier but there was no sign of the boat.

"We commenced a search with rescue helicopter 118 from Sligo, Arranmore lifeboat, Bunbeg Coast Guard and Bundoran lifeboat.

"With the helicopter, it fairly quickly spotted the second body and Bundoran Lifeboat recovered the body and took it back to Teelin and handed it over to gardaí."

Local Brendan Byrne said: "We offer our deepest sympathy to the grieving families."

He added: "It's the most tragic thing we experience in our community.

"But we must remind people to be careful on the seas in areas they are not familiar with.

"The coastline off Malinbeg and Glencolmcille and around Raithlin O'Beirne Island is very dangerous.

"The waters are treacherous. I'm not a seafarer but those that know the sea know there are various currents that converge in this area and the sea is very strong."

Irish Independent

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