Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Sea rescue images put on display

The Baltimore RNLI lifeboat crew taking part in a major rescue operation when a yacht capsized during the famous Fastnet race

Eye-witness images of some of the most dramatic sea rescues in Irish waters have gone on display in Dublin.

The terrifying scene of a £15 million yacht capsized off the Co Cork coast in 2011 is among the pictures, captured by photographer and RNLI lifeboat volunteer Nigel Millard.

"That was a real sight to behold - this huge upturned super maxi yacht that had thrown everybody into the water," Mr Millard said.

"When we arrived in the lifeboat, 16 of the crew were huddled along the hull and five were missing in the water. It was growing dark and we had no idea how bad it might be."

Mr Millard, who has volunteered for the RNLI since 2005, takes pictures of rescue scenes while working on lifeboats when he has a moment to spare.

The professional photographer from Devon was volunteering at the station in Baltimore, west Cork in August 2011 when the US-registered boat, Rambler 100, overturned about 16 miles from the coast.

The yacht had been taking part in the Fastnet Race when its keel broke, causing it to flip and throw the 21-strong crew overboard.

Five went missing from the 100ft vessel, but were later rescued from the water with one woman being airlifted to hospital.

"My role on the RNLI lifeboat was first aid, so after I had attended to everyone I needed to, I was able to grab my camera and photograph the scene," Mr Millard said.

The photographer said he hopes the exhibition will bring the RNLI - in Ireland and the UK - to a whole new audience and might inspire some people to volunteer.

'My favourite photo is a casualty's eye view. I've been a man overboard on exercises - once in the water, you see nothing, then just a tiny bit of orange, and it's not the sun, it's a lifeboat," he added.

"It epitomises the work I do, and the work of the RNLI."

The outdoor exhibition will be at Grand Canal Square until December 2.

It includes 52 prints, each measuring two metres wide, which showcase everything from lifesaving scenes in high seas to portraits of the charity's volunteer crew members.

The exhibition will be free, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of the weather.

It features action from lifeboat stations at Baltimore, Achill Island in Mayo, Rosslare Harbour and Kilmore Quay in Wexford, Dunmore East in Waterford and Newcastle in Down.

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