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Friday 22 June 2018

Boatmaster made no mayday call when boat capsized 12 passengers, despite risk of 'death or serious injury'

Lough Leane
Lough Leane

Rebecca Lumley

A new report has revealed that no attempt was made to call for help when a boat carrying twelve passengers capsized in Lough Leane, Co Kerry, last September.

The incident was investigated by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, which said it had the potential to cause “death or serious injury.”

The Boatmaster, who was not named in the report, was travelling with 12 tourists and four bicycles on board the PV Mary Ann of Dunloe on September 1, 2016.

The report found that the Master did not hold the proper Department of Transport commercial endorsement to act as a master of a passenger boat.

Passengers suffered unpleasant weather conditions as they sailed across the lake, which is the largest in Killarney, and described the amount of water entering the boat “as if someone was throwing buckets of cold water over them”.

The boat became swamped in the Foilcoille area of the Lough Leane and was battered by increasingly strong waves and wind.

The vessel capsized, causing “the majority of passengers and the Master to tip over into the water”.

The report stated that: “The Master did not raise any alarm by radio, mobile phone or flare requesting assistance. Passengers believed that they were unsuccessful in their attempt to attract the attention of a nearby waterbus. However, although the waterbus continued on its passage due to the restricted depth of water in the area, it did alert a nearby vessel of the incident.”

Three vessels attended the scene and all passengers and the Boatmaster were rescued without injury.

The report described the incident as a “serious marine casualty, which posed the threat of death or serious injury to persons.”

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