Belfast Telegraph

Trio killed in angling boat fire

Three retired friends who died on an angling trip off Cork tried to fight a fire on board their boat before abandoning ship.

The only survivor, American Ed Dziato, told rescue teams the four had tried in vain to put out the blaze on the 25ft motor cruiser Castaway off west Cork.

Dara Fitzpatrick, captain of the Waterford-based Coast Guard rescue helicopter, said he was in severe shock after being winched from the water in Bantry Bay.

"He really went into shock. He was very distraught, extremely distraught at his three friends," she said.

"We got very brief details. There was a fire, they tried to fight it and they decided to abandon ship and that was it. That was really all he could tell us. He was really distraught altogether. We tried to protect him from what was going on at the front of the aircraft."

Irishman Richard Harman, 69, and Germans Mike Schmidt, 70, and Wolfgang Schroeder, 62, were killed in Monday night's tragedy. They had gone for a day's sea angling off the Beara peninsula.

Mr Harman and Mr Schmidt both lived in the popular tourist village of Glengarriff, while Mr Schroeder lived near Bantry.

The Glengarriff native, a retired farmer and auctioneer, had been due to celebrate his 70th birthday next month and was well-known in the community through his work and activism with Fine Gael. Mr Schmidt, who was retired and had been living in Glengarriff for about 20 years, was an experienced seaman after spending years working in the merchant navy.

Officials from the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) are carrying out an inquiry into the incident. Gardai in Castletownbere are also conducting their own probe into the fire.

It is understood the investigations will centre on whether an explosion in the engine caused the blaze.

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