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Elderly man dies after boat capsizes off Saltee Islands

Published 31/08/2015

The RNLI were involved in the search
The RNLI were involved in the search

A man in his 70s has died after the boat he was on with a fishing party capsized, leaving 10 people in the sea for five hours.

The elderly man was among a group who went sea fishing off Co Wexford yesterday, when a wave swamped their boat near the Saltee Islands.

The party included seven other men, a woman and a teenage boy, all of whom survived.

All 10 were taken from the sea late last night by the Saltee Islands passenger ferry An Crossan, which was being crewed by three local RNLI volunteers.

After the alarm was raised at about 11.30pm last night, the lifeboat from Kilmore was making its way towards Ballyteigue and the Coningmore Rocks when they got a radio call from the ferry that an upturned hull had been spotted and the anglers were in the water half a mile south of the Great Saltee Islands.

All were taken on board within an hour with the elderly man transferred to a lifeboat before being airlifted to Waterford University Hospital in a critical condition. He died this morning.

Aidan Bates, Kilmore Quay RNLI, said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in this incident and we would like to wish them all a speedy recovery from their ordeal.

"The party had done the right thing in letting someone know when they were due back and thankfully, as a result of that, the alarm was able to be raised."

The alarm was raised by someone who knew the party had set out on a fishing trip from Kilmore Quay at 4pm yesterday and were due back before sunset.

Weather conditions at the time were overcast and there was a force 2-3 south westerly wind blowing, the RNLI said.

Everyone on the boat is understood to have been wearing lifejackets.

It is understood the group could be heard in the water shouting after the ferry's lights went out briefly during the search and rescue.

Several of them were suffering from shock and were treated for the effects of hypothermia.

Their boat, an 18ft leisure craft, is understood to have overturned in choppy water when a breaking wave swamped the vessel.

The group is believed to be from the Wexford area originally and some are part of the same extended family, a number of whom were on a trip home for the get together.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board will be investigating.

Local gardai were also liaising with the group to ensure next of kin are informed.

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