Monday 11 December 2017

Diver becomes sixth fatality in month of tragedy at sea

Howth RNLI responded to a swimmer in distress, a row boat caught in a strong current and two yachts that ran aground off the Malahide coast.
Howth RNLI responded to a swimmer in distress, a row boat caught in a strong current and two yachts that ran aground off the Malahide coast.

Brian Byrne and Denise Calnan

A MAN has died after he took ill during a dive yesterday afternoon, the sixth person to die while diving in the past month.

The man, aged in his late 40s, had just completed a 25-metre dive off the east coast of the island of Inishbofin, Co Galway.

It is understood the man had been diving with the Dublin University Sub Aqua Club (DUSAC) based at Trinity College, one of Ireland's biggest and most active diving clubs.

The group had arrived at the resort for a seven-day diving trip last Saturday and remained there last night.

Malin Head Coast Guard in Co Donegal confirmed it received an emergency call at 2.32pm yesterday requiring immediate assistance.

A helicopter and lifeboat shortly arrived at the scene, where a doctor performed CPR on the man. He was airlifted to Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar, where he was pronounced dead.

The fatality comes just two days after a Presbyterian minister died during a dive off Donegal on Saturday evening. Rev Dr Stewart Jones was an experienced diver who was passionate about the water and loved teaching others. He got into difficulty shortly after he was struck by a freak wave during a dive at St John's Point at 4.30pm.

The Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched to the scene after the alarm was raised and CPR was performed on the beach but Rev Jones was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

There have been four other diving fatalities in Irish waters since June, bringing the death toll to six this summer.

Jonathan Scott (62) and Steven Clarke (66) died when they got into difficulty while diving in Cork earlier this month.

A 42-year-old Polish national died after an incident during a technical dive off Malin Head and Limerickman John McNally (46) died in a Cork dive in June.

Meanwhile, the RNLI rescued 15 people in two separate emergency incidents within minutes of each other on the east coast.

The emergency calls came within three minutes of each other in Howth, Co Dublin.

A group of tourists had to be rescued after the regular ferry from Howth to Ireland's Eye had a problem with the gears and ran aground, a spokesperson for Dublin Coastguard told The 30-foot boat, which was manned by two crew members, hit rocks on the north side of Ireland's Eye.

The Howth RNLI lifeboat rescued the 14 people on board moments after the mayday call was issued at 3.30pm. No medical assistance was required.

Meanwhile, a member of the public issued an emergency call at 3.27pm when a man jumped a 30-foot drop into the water at Balscadden beach and was believed to have suffered a chest injury. He is not believed to be seriously injured.

Irish Independent

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