Monday 9 December 2019

Catch of the day RNLI saves seal

Esther Hayden

IT wasn't their usual kind of rescue but that didn't make the victim any less important.

Yesterday a rescue boat was launched after a large male seal was spotted drowning.

Local man Pat Ivory was going for a swim when he noticed a large seal caught in fishing nets 30 metres off the breakwater in Arklow, Co Wicklow.

He contacted Arklow gardai who called Arklow RNLI and a rescue boat and the lifeboat were launched at 4.20pm.

Lifeboat Operations manager, Jimmy Tyrell, said the rescue went very well and crewmen Michael Fitzgerald and Scott Heeny went out to the distressed seal in a small rescue boat where they freed him within minutes.

They were assisted by the lifeboat which remained close by in case the seal became violent and jeopardised their safety. "From our point of view we wanted to free the seal and also to prevent members of the public attempting their own rescue from the shore because this would have been very hazardous due to the fishing nets in the water there," said Jimmy.

"The rescue was very successful and once they had removed the netting from around the seal's head he swam off."

Paul Comiskey of Arklow Garda Station said: "We have since learnt he was trapped in the nets for at least 24 hours, however when freed he swam off without any difficulty."

Irish Independent

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