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Mother-of-two Caitriona Lucas dies at sea in search for missing man

Published 13/09/2016

Tragedy: Caitriona Lucas
Tragedy: Caitriona Lucas

A heroic volunteer coastguard has tragically lost her life at sea during a search and rescue mission in Co Clare.

Mother-of-two Caitriona Lucas, originally from Ballyvaughan, Co Clare, was killed yesterday while trying to locate a man who had gone missing over the weekend.

Ms Lucas (41), a volunteer with the Doolin Coast Guard, was in a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) searching for missing teacher David McMahon.

Ms Lucas was part of a three-person crew searching off the coast around Kilkee Bay when the boat she was in capsized in difficult weather conditions.

At around 1.15pm, the coastguard received a mayday call, indicating the group was in trouble. Search and rescue helicopters and rescue boats were dispatched as part of a massive search operation to find the volunteers.

Caitriona, whose husband Bernard Lucas also volunteers for Doolin Coast Guard, was taken out of the water by Shannon-based helicopter Rescue 115 at around 2.15pm.

It is understood she had been in the water for around one hour at the time. Emergency crews found her unresponsive. She was airlifted to University Hospital Limerick (UHL), but was declared dead a short time later.

Jenny Carway (51), another member of the crew, had been discovered and taken out of the water in an RIB around 30 minutes before Ms Lucas was found.

She was taken at first to Kilkee garda station where she was treated by paramedics and then transferred to UHL, where she was recovering last night.

Another of her brave volunteer colleagues, James Lucey (49), was discovered in a cave underneath a cliff.

At around 5.30pm he was rescued from the cave by Waterford-based helicopter, Rescue 117.

The capsized boat had trapped him in the cave and rescue workers were forced to abseil down the cliff to get a rope to Mr Lucey.

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