Tuesday 16 January 2018

Two survive 12-hour ordeal at sea

Crab boat capsized by large wave

Tom Shiel and Pat Flynn

TWO young men were rescued yesterday after spending almost 12 hours in a emergency life-raft after their crab boat was capsized by a large wave.

John O'Donnell (18) and Nathan Flannery (25), both from Ballina, Co Mayo, didn't have time to send out an SOS when the wave capsized their boat, the Leim an Bhradan, and threw them into the water while they were hauling in crab pots off the Mayo coast.

They launched a life-raft but it failed to open. The pair, who were wearing lifejackets, eventually managed to inflate the raft and climb into it.

They removed their wet clothes and climbed into plastic sacks to keep warm.

The two men then spent nearly 12 hours bobbing about in the Atlantic, 13 miles off the north Mayo coastline at Belderrig, before they were spotted by the crew of a Sligo-based coastguard helicopter at 1am. The helicopter crew directed the Ballyglass lifeboat to the scene and the young men were taken ashore at Ballyglass to recover.

The pair declined to comment yesterday about their ordeal but one of their rescuers said they were "extremely lucky".

The small boat was swamped at 1pm on Saturday. But the alarm was only raised late on Saturday night after Ballyglass Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteer crew member John Walsh learned the vessel had not returned to Porturlin harbour.

Ballyglass RNLI coxswain JT Gaughan said there had been nobody out looking for the men until Mr Walsh raised the alarm.

"Things can go wrong very quickly out at sea and every second counts," he said.

"Thankfully, once the search was underway the men were spotted quickly."

Meanwhile, a Spanish fisherman had to be airlifted to hospital from a trawler over 220km off the Co Clare coast in the early hours of Saturday morning after severing a number of fingers in an onboard work accident.

The 51-year-old man had been working on board the vessel west of Loop Head when he caught his fingers in some equipment.

Irish Independent

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