Wednesday 25 April 2018

Irish fisherman rescued from icy Alaskan waters

James McCarthy
James McCarthy
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

AN IRISH fisherman has been rescued after spending 30 minutes in the ice cold waters off Alaska by the US Coast Guard.

James McCarthy (35), originally from Co Cork, was pulled from the sea after falling overboard from the Stella, a trawler captained by his brother Peter.

According to the US Coast Guard, Mr McCarthy was exposed to a water temperature of just 3C for 25 minutes before being plucked from the ocean by his crew mates on the Stella.

The incident happened last Friday in the midst of 20mph winds, high seas and freezing spray.

A Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched and used a winch to hoist Mr McCarthy into the aircraft and was flown to a medical centre on nearby Kodiak island "exhibiting symptoms of hypothermia" according to spokesman Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Cole.

He said: "They were fortunate to be so close to Kodiak and our hoist-capable helicopters allowing the patient to be delivered to advanced medical care in a matter of hours.

"This crew did everything right to rescue this man and this is a perfect example of why vessel crews need to practice their emergency drills monthly.

"Coast Guard personnel will investigate the cause of the man overboard," he continued.

The McCarthy brothers work for Island Seafood, which is based on Kodiak.

Neither could be contacted last night, with staff at the company saying they were unavailable for comment.

An online profile shows that James McCarthy has fished in Alaska for almost 15 years. It states that he studied at the National Fisheries College at Greencastle, Co Donegal, and that he moved to Alaska when his brother offered him a job.

He described his ideal day at sea being an occasion his boat caught 350lb of pollock in the Bering Sea between Alaska and Russia. Another brother, John, also fishes in Alaska.

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