Thursday 14 December 2017

Six fishermen escape on raft after trawler sinks off Donegal coast

Ed Carty and Sarah Stack

Six fishermen who escaped on a life raft as their trawler sank at sea have been airlifted to safety.

A rescue operation was launched when the vessel started taking on water about 15 miles north of Malin Head, Co Donegal, this morning.

The Irish Coast Guard said all six men are safe and well.

The 118 rescue helicopter from Sligo and RNLI crews from Lough Swilly and Portrush were sent to the scene.

An RNLI spokeswoman said the operations manager in Portrush reported that all six men have been airlifted and are en route to shore.

Joe Joyce, spokesman for Lough Swilly RNLI, said they received a request to launch at 10.05am.

"The boat was taking on water fast. The boat has now sunk," he said.

"The men all have survival gear on - survival suits - and they have activated their distress beacon."

The boat is believed to be the Amy Jane, a crab vessel which had been fishing out of the Downings in Donegal.

The RNLI lifeboat from Portrush has taken the life raft under tow back to shore to avoid it becoming a hazard for other vessels.

Mr Joyce said the Epirb emergency distress beacon on the vessel had been activated allowing rescue crews to track the men using GPS.

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