Monday 18 December 2017

One fisherman dies, one 'critical' and one still missing after boating accident

Members of Athlone Sub Aqua Club offloading the three fishermen's equipment and belongings found out on the lough. Photo: molloyphotography
Members of Athlone Sub Aqua Club offloading the three fishermen's equipment and belongings found out on the lough. Photo: molloyphotography
The scene on the shore of Hodson Bay at Lough Ree. Photo: molloyphotography

Cormac Murphy and Eoghan MacConnell

ONE of the fishermen rescued following a boating accident on a lake in the midlands has died in hospital.

Another remains in a critical condition, while the search for a third man has resumed this morning.

All three men – believed to be part of a group from an angling club in Armagh – got into difficulties in windy conditions on Lough Ree, near Athlone, in Co Roscommon.

A 27-year-old man has died in hospital, it has been confirmed this morning.

Rescue services resumed their search for a 30-year-old fisherman at approximately 8am.

Damien Delaney of the RNLI lifeboart said there was "a long debris trail" in a certain part of the lake, close to where the two bodies were found, and the search would resume there at 8am.

The weather is forecast to be good this morning, but is set to get worse later in the day.

The group of six fishermen, believed to be regular visitors to the area, set off in separate groups in two small Dory boats from the pier at Hodson Bay in Co Roscommon yesterday.

The group, understood to be angling for pike, had informed people in the area of their plans to camp overnight on the lakeshore at Carna a few kilometres from Hodson Bay.

A man who met them on their way out advised them of the poor conditions on the lake.

Richie O'Hara of Baysports said, "two of the party came into our centre at about 4.30pm and they were quite concerned about three of their party who they were meant to meet". However, they had not turned up to meet them further up the lake as planned so they had returned looking for them.

An extensive search by the Air Corps and the RNLI pulled two men from the water but they could not locate the third man last night.


"We got a call at 3.20pm. It was a routine report. Someone reported a small angling boat that might be getting into difficulty," a spokesman for the Irish Coast Guard said.

An RNLI lifeboat was sent to find the vessel but the search was scaled up when debris including boat parts and fishing gear was found.

"One person was located and taken ashore and another person was located not long afterwards," the coastguard said. Both were described as wearing lifejackets.

The men were taken to hospital in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, by ambulance. The boat is thought to have capsized while they were on the lake.

The first man, aged 60, was recovered at 4pm and brought to shore at Hodson Bay where he was treated by the emergency services.

More than an hour later, the second man, aged 27, was found and brought to shore at about 5.30pm.

Mr O'Hara said the second casualty was unresponsive.

A small crowd had gathered by the pier yesterday evening as light faded and word spread of the tragedy.

Westmeath county councillor Kevin Moran, who is an angler, said: "I'm a man of the water. I do an awful lot of fishing. It's very sad to see something like that happen. There were very bad conditions on Lough Ree.


"There were heavy gusts with some thunder showers and those gusts were severe. If you're fishing in Hodson Bay, you're sheltered but if you go out a small bit it becomes very choppy and very severe."

He said an angler met the three men going out and told them the conditions were very bad out there.

Martin McEnroe, vice-chairman of the Angling Council of Ireland, said: "There was a weather warning on for strong winds and gales. Lough Ree is a serious lake. It's very open. We would not attempt to go out on a day like today. We would know the lake and we would understand it."

"It was pointed out to them by a person that the conditions were quite bad," Mr McEnroe told the Irish Independent. The same person subsequently raised the alarm.

The men had gone pike angling. "They were three lovely fellas down for a few days fishing out on the lake here and they told me they were heading out doing a bit of pike fishing. The weather wasn't great at the time," local man Dave McEnroe told RTE News.

Irish Independent

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