The team behind a rescue operation which led to three people on a fishing boat being towed back to safety after getting into trouble in the Irish Sea have been praised for their work.
The major operation got under way yesterday after the Kilkeel-based Crystal Star — a 33ft prawn trawler — was taking in water faster than its pump could cope with and was in danger of sinking.
The trawler sent a mayday message at around 10am while fishing around 20 miles south east of Kilkeel.
A rescue helicopter from Dublin was involved in the operation along with the Kilkeel Lifeboat and the Port St Mary Lifeboat from the Isle of Man.
Several local fishing boats also helped in the operation.
Three people — a skipper and two crew — were on board.
No-one was injured in the incident.
A pump from the salvage tug Intrepid B was winched onto the rescue helicopter and transferred to the Crystal Star via the Kilkeel Lifeboat, which arrived on scene at 10.52am.
The Kilkeel lifeboat travelled alongside the fishing vessel, and helped to pump out water as it made its way to shore.
Roy Teggarty of Kilkeel lifeboat said: “It was quite a major operation for a while.
“The Warrenpoint ferry and other fishing vessels in the area were on stand-by for a time,” he said.
He added: “This was an excellent example of teamwork between the RNLI and the Coastguard helicopter crew.
“The swift actions of the fishing boat's crew in calling for help at the earliest opportunity and the swift response of the emergency services ensured that both the vessel and its crew were saved.”