Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Video: Horror moment fishermen leap into sea as trawler sinks

Ardglass-registered boat the Snowdonia sinks of the Ulster coast
Ardglass-registered boat the Snowdonia sinks of the Ulster coast
Ardglass-registered boat the Snowdonia sinks of the Ulster coast
Ardglass-registered boat the Snowdonia sinks of the Ulster coast
Ardglass-registered boat the Snowdonia sinks of the Ulster coast
Ardglass-registered boat the Snowdonia sinks of the Ulster coast
Ardglass-registered boat the Snowdonia sinks of the Ulster coast

Footage has emerged of the dramatic rescue of two fishermen whose trawler sank off the County Down coast last week.

Two videos were posted on YouTube featuring scenes which wouldn't be out of place in a disaster movie.

The footage shows skipper of the Ardglass-registered boat the Snowdonia Stephen Kearney and his crewmate stranded on their sinking ship.

Shot using a camera phone by Airidas Grabauskas in the passing trawler Tribute, the film shows the doomed vessel rapidly sinking and falling apart, scattering debris in the Irish sea.

The two can be seen trying to leap to safety as the trawler suddenly starts to slip stern-first into the deep, threatening to suck them under.

The footage shows them battling to stay afloat in the sea beside the debris of their boat Snowdonia and a later clip also details a dramatic helicopter rescue.

One of the men had his foot trapped in a rope attached to the vessel and was pulled down as it plunged to the seabed. He managed to free himself by kicking off his shoe and can be seen popping to the surface again.

The trawler foundered on Tuesday after a fire broke out, forcing the two men who had been fishing for prawns to abandon ship. Airidas, a Lithuanian fisherman, and his crewmates can be heard on the recording directing the stranded fishermen away from the debris to safety.

“Go to this side, go this way here. He is asking you to go...,” men can be heard shouting on the shaky footage.

A second video shows the dramatic air rescue when a Coastguard helicopter lifted the two to safety from the Tribute, where they were receiving first aid from the Kilkeel inshore lifeboat crew.

As the rescue mission wraps up, the camera pans to shots of grinning Tribute crew joking in Lithuanian about giving the footage to the BBC.

Explaining how the trawler sank, Stephen said: “We just went up on a wave and the back of the boat went into the water and she never came back. She went down that quick.”

The experienced fisherman hopes to be back on the water as soon as possible.

Airlift

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