independent

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Sligo coastguard helicopter crew in double weekend rescue

Paul Deering

The Sligo based coastguard rescue 118 helicopter crew were involved in two dramatic rescues in Donegal on Saturday.

After rescuing a lobster fisherman whose boat sank off Burtonport the crew were on their back to Sligo when they were called to help surfers in difficulty off Tullaghan beach.

The day of drama began when a lobster fisherman became entangled in ropes after his boat sank near Burtonport in heavy swell conditions.

The fisherman was dramatically rescued by the helicopter winch man who managed to cut him free.

Rescue 118 brought the fisherman, who was suffering from hypothermia, to Letterkenny University hospital by 6.50pm and is said to have made a good recovery.

The 118 chopper was returning to its base at Sligo Airport in Strandhill when it was called to help surfers who had got into difficult off Tullaghan beach at around 9pm.

A 999 call was made by a member of the public who noticed a number of surfers struggling to make their way back to the shore.

Within minutes the Bundoran RNLI lifeboat crew launched in what were described as very challenging conditions and made its way to the scene where the Sligo based Rescue 118 helicopter had already lifted one of the surfers out of the water.

The other surfer was then lifted from the water by the lifeboat.

The helicopter landed and handed over the surfer they had lifted to RNLI shore crew. Neither surfer needed medical assistance.

RNLI lifeboat spokesman Brian Gillespie said: "The surfers had luck on their side with the helicopter passing and our boat being able to launch in such challenging conditions.

"The outcome was positive on this occasion and we are thankful we were able to get to the surfers on time.

"We would like to remind anyone who sees anyone in trouble on the coast to ring 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Photo right shows the RNLI lifeboat being recovered at Bundoran pier just before 9pm on Saturday.

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