Monday 23 September 2019

'She made the ultimate sacrifice' - safety concerns raised by report into death of coast guard

Caitríona Lucas
Caitríona Lucas
Ryan Nugent

Ryan Nugent

THE FINAL report into the tragic death of coast guard volunteer Caitriona Lucas has found the capsized boat was launched in conditions that were outside its operational limits.

Mother of two, Ms Lucas (41), from Liscannor Co.Clare, died on September 12, 2016 while out searching for a missing man.

The Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) she was travelling on capsized near Kilkee.

The report published by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB)  listed a number of safety management issues with the rescue operation and also listed recommendations.

Transport Minister, Shane Ross said he will ensure these are implemented.

It found that the capsizing of the RIB “occurred within a wider context of safety management in the Coast Guard as a whole”.

It also stated that the IRCG does not have an effective safety management system “as demonstrated by recent incidents and the resulting recommendations which remain outstanding”.

Also among its conclusions, it found:

- The Delta RIB was used outside of the IRCG’s own defined operational limits.

- The need to deploy, and the activities to be carried out by the cliff search teams and boats in search and recovery operations was not adequately considered.

- The use of technologies or alternative means of carrying out search and recovery operations was not adequately considered.

The report called on Mr Ross to ensure that the criteria for tasking and launching Coast Guard boats are reviewed.

It also said that the IRCG should implement a safety management system to address the issues in the report and to undertake regular audits and governance reviews of the management system.

Responding to the report, Minister Ross said that Ms Lucas “made the ultimate sacrifice”.

 “Caitríona Lucas was an extraordinary woman - brave, committed, supremely generous – and her death was an appalling tragedy. Her life will be remembered by the actions of all those involved in Search and Rescue activities,” he said.

“I know the Irish Coast Guard including its 900 volunteers are committed to honouring her memory. We will ensure volunteer safety remains at the heart of Search and Rescue operations.”

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News