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Helicopter forced to abandon rescue off Kerry coast due to ‘unusually calm conditions’

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The Shannon rescue coastguard helicopter, Rescue 115, was tasked with attempting to airlift a crewman who had fallen ill aboard a Spanish vessel off the coast of Kerry in the early hours of Monday morning.

The Shannon rescue coastguard helicopter, Rescue 115, was tasked with attempting to airlift a crewman who had fallen ill aboard a Spanish vessel off the coast of Kerry in the early hours of Monday morning.

The Shannon rescue coastguard helicopter, Rescue 115, was tasked with attempting to airlift a crewman who had fallen ill aboard a Spanish vessel off the coast of Kerry in the early hours of Monday morning.

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A crew member aboard a Spanish fishing vessel, the Nuevo Santillana, off the coast of Kerry was brought to University Hospital Kerry (UHK) in the early hours of Monday morning after he fell ill aboard the ship.

The Shannon-based helicopter, Rescue 115, was tasked to the scene which located 40 miles southwest of Dingle by the Valentia Coastguard which co-ordinated the operation.

Whilst visibility was poor due to foggy conditions in the area, it was actually the very calm conditions on the night that foiled the helicopter’s attempt to airlift the sick crewman off the ship and was ultimately forced to abandon the operation.

Speaking to The Kerryman on Monday, a spokesperson from the Valentia Coastguard station gave a run down of the events.

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"When the helicopter came on scene, which was at about midnight exactly at 23:59, communication was established with the vessel. After 15 minutes of attempting to lift the casualty, they had to stand down because there wasn't enough wind as the helicopter needs wind to perform some of these manoeuvres. It was too calm so if the helicopter got too low, the downdraft would have blown them off the deck of the boat," he said.

"So, because of the extremely unusual calm conditions - normally down here, we're hanging onto things - the helicopter had to abandon the rescue,” he added.

The Spanish vessel eventually docked in Dingle at 3 a.m. on Monday morning and the patient was handed over to an ambulance in Dingle and he was transported then to UHK.


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