Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Fishermen safe after trawler sinks

Six fishermen have been airlifted to safety 15 miles north of Co Donegal

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. 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 were en route to shore.

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

"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."

Hugh McBride, part owner of the McBride Fishing Company, which operated the boat, said there was no explanation for the sudden sinking at this stage.

"The skipper is well experienced, he's been with us for 30 years and seemed to handle things calmly. Everybody is safe and well and that's the main thing," he said.

The Amy Jane was a 20-year-old 60ft crabber which has been in the McBride fleet since it was built. Mr McBride said there was no suggestion the boat hit anything.

The crew was made up of five men from Donegal, including the skipper, Patrick McClafferty, from Downings, and a Lithuanian man.

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