Kilmore Quay lifeboat had to make a rapid diversion to respond to a Mayday call from the injured skipper of a yacht last weekend while responding to a call for assistance from another pleasure boat.
The volunteer crew at Kilmore Quay were initially alerted at 7.45 p.m. on Saturday evening to a nine metre yacht with three people on board which was four miles east of the fishing harbour.
The yacht had made contact with Rosslare Coast Guard requesting a tow to Kilmore Quay as it had lost its engine and was having trouble travelling to the west with a west-south-west wind slowing down its progress.
But as the lifeboat was proceeding over St. Patrick's Bridge, a MayDay was broadcast on channel 16 over the VHF radio from another yacht 13 miles away.
Rosslare Coast Guard responded to the distress call and was informed that the yacht's skipper had been involved in an accident.
As the yacht's crew were adjusting a sail, a piece of rigging had parted and seriously injured the skipper's hand, according to Aidan Bates, volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at Kilmore Quay.
The 12 metre yacht was situated 13 miles to the south-west of Kilmore Quay, so Rosslare Coast Guard immediately diverted Kilmore Quay lifeboat to the scene of that incident.
It also tasked the Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 from Waterford airport.
Kilmore Quay lifeboat had a 30 minute journey to get to the yacht.
In the meantime, additional volunteer RNLI crew members arrived at the lifeboat station. On learning of the situation, one of the crew, local charter boat skipper Trevor Devereux of the Karen Ann, offered to go out and tow in the first yacht, which was located to the east of Kilmore Quay.
Mr. Devereux and two other lifeboat crew headed out to the smaller yacht and brought it to back to the harbour while the lifeboat made her way offshore.
Kilmore Quay lifeboat arrived at the scene of the yachting accident just after Rescue helicopter 117.
The helicopter crew had assessed the situation with with a view to winching the injured skipper from the yacht.
It was decided that the safest option was to first transfer the casualty to the lifeboat where the winch man examined the casualty and administered pain relief before winching him to the helicopter for transportation to Waterford University Hospital for treatment.