Saturday 20 July 2019

Fishermen rescued after trawler catches fire off Wicklow coast

Arklow and Wicklow RNLI involved in rescue of three fishermen from 14m boat that caught fire. Photo: RNLI
Arklow and Wicklow RNLI involved in rescue of three fishermen from 14m boat that caught fire. Photo: RNLI

Allison Bray

Three fishermen had a lucky escape after their trawler caught fire and sank off the Co Wicklow coast earlier today.

The drama unfolded around 3:46pm this afternoon when the volunteer lifeboat crews from the Arklow and Wicklow RNLI received an emergency distress broadcast, or Mayday alert,  from the trawler’s emergency position-indicating radio beacon, known as EPIRB.

Both lifeboats were launched along with the Irish Coast Guard rescue 117 helicopter which was dispatched from Waterford. Several private vessels also assisted in the rescue.

When the Arklow RNLI crew arrived on the scene about 30 miles east of Arklow, they found the fisherman floating on a life raft and transferred them to a nearby vessel.

“Having assessed the situation, the lifeboat crew proceeded to transfer two of the casualties to the lifeboat and administer casualty care while a third casualty was airlifted by Rescue 117 and later brought to hospital for further observation,” according to an RNLI spokesperson.

Both RNLI lifeboat crews remained on the scene and were joined by a tug boat with firefighting capabilities.

Despite their efforts, the 14 metre trawler sank.

Arklow RNLI Coxswain Ned Dillon said: "Thankfully, all three fishermen were rescued this evening and we would like to wish them all a speedy recovery following what must have been a frightening experience for them.”

“We would like to commend the skipper and his crew for doing the right thing and activating the EPIRB when they knew they were in difficulty, that was the right thing to do,” he said.

“We would also like to thank and commend the crew of the vessels that were in the area and responded along with ourselves and our colleagues at Wicklow RNLI and in the Irish Coast Guard. It is always sad to see a fishing vessel sink but we are happy that all three fishermen are safe and recovering from their ordeal this evening,” he said.

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