A FISHERMAN who was desperately trying to raise the alert over his missing colleague yesterday had to swim to shore and climb up cliffs before getting to a telephone.
It followed the sinking of a small vessel yesterday morning at Ringabella Bay in Cork. One fisherman is missing, feared drowned, after the incident.
A major search operation was launched in Cork Harbour for the fisherman who went missing after a 20ft lobster boat got into difficulty and capsized shortly after 10am.
Two men were on the vessel and one managed to swim ashore and raise the alarm. But he first had to swim about 100 metres to the shore line at Fishpoint.
He was then faced with a 60ft climb, without shoes, up cliffs. When he got to the top he had to run a further three miles to the nearest telephone.
He was treated for shock and hypothermia. However, he is expected to make a full recovery. The second man did not make it ashore. It is understood he too tried to swim to shore but disappeared.
A major search operation for him was launched by the Irish Coastguard, the RNLI and the Naval Service, and a team of divers from the 'LE Emer' subsequently located the wreck in six metres of water.
An intensive search of the seabed some 300 metres around the wreck was conducted but no trace of the missing man was found.
The search operation was later expanded but operations were suspended when darkness fell.
The captain of the 'LE Emer', Lt Cdr Orlaith Gallagher, said the search will resume at first light today. Five local fishing vessels from Cork ports have also joined the search.
The missing fisherman is understood to be in his 30s and from Crosshaven in Cork. It was unclear last night whether he had managed to get inflatable gear on before the vessel sank.