Friday 20 September 2019

'If another hour had passed the outcome may not have been so successful' - three rescued from yacht

Volunteer lifeboat crew with Rosslare RNLI launched this morning during Storm Ophelia to rescue three men onboard a 10m yacht after they issued a Mayday
Volunteer lifeboat crew with Rosslare RNLI launched this morning during Storm Ophelia to rescue three men onboard a 10m yacht after they issued a Mayday
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Met Eireann forecaster Evelyn Cusack at the National Emergency Coordination Centre today. Photo: Mark Condren Newsdesk Newsdesk

Three men on board a yacht have been rescued off the coast of Rosslare this afternoon during Storm Ophelia.

A volunteer lifeboat crew with Rosslare RNLI launched to rescue three men onboard a 10m yacht after they issued a Mayday call this morning at 10.04am. 

The crew had been trying to get to safety since the early hours and had attempted to gain entry to a few harbours but were constantly pushed back by winds and tides, according to the RNLI.

Ten miles offshore from Rosslare and getting battered by the worsening weather they issued a Mayday.

Rosslare Harbour lifeboat, under the command of Coxswain Eamon O’Rourke launched with six volunteer crew and made the journey out to help the three men. 

Conditions were extremely challenging with force nine winds with a 6m sea swell according to the RNLI.

The lifeboat crew made slow progress in the heavy weather but brought all three men safely ashore after 2pm at Rosslare Harbour.

"I am extremely proud of our crew. When the pagers went off this morning, as the storm was beginning to take hold, we had seven lifeboat crew down immediately to the station with a further six in reserve. Conditions were very unpleasant out there and we needed to get those three men to safety as quickly as possible.’

"The crew of the yacht had been trying to come ashore since the early hours but were pushed back and ultimately unsuccessful.  When the lifeboat crew reached them they were side on to the weather, taking a ferocious pounding and in danger of getting overwhelmed.  I think if another hour had passed this story may not have had such a successful outcome."

Earlier today rescue crews launched at 10.20am following a Mayday call off the coast of Blackrock, Co Louth.

Rescue 116, Greenore CG and Clogherhead Lifeboat all attended the scene, Clogherhead RNLI confirmed to

The spokesperson said the two men are now "on-shore, safe and well."

A spokesperson for the Irish Coast Guard said reports had initially stated that the two were kite-surfers but it has been confirmed that it was two wind-surfers.

He added the crews are making a general recommendation that people do not venture towards the coast while the Met Éireann red status warning for Ophelia is now in place.

Members of the RNLI were also deployed off the Galway coast to recover a yacht, while a tug boat was used to escort two people into Rosslare harbour, Co Wexford.

Eugene Clonan of the Irish Coast Guard reiterated calls for people to stay away from the coastline and waters.

"I'd like to reiterate for recreational users to stay off the water. His is an unprecedented weather system that we're going through. We have not experienced this before and we want people to stay safe. We urge people to stay away from the coastline," Mr Clonan said at a press briefing of the National Emergency Coordination Group this afternoon.

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