Belfast Telegraph

Fishermen rescued in mammoth 15-hour mission

A Mayday alert was sent from the 45ft fishing boat shortly after 2pm on Saturday.

(PA)
(PA)

By Cate McCurry, PA

Five fishermen were rescued after their boat lost power and violent waves smashed a number of its windows off the coast of Co Donegal.

Dramatic footage has been released showing the moment the fishermen were caught up in the severe storm at the weekend.

RNLI volunteers from Lough Swilly, Portrush and Arranmore spent almost 15 hours at sea in storm force conditions to rescue the men who got into difficulty off Fanad Head.

A Mayday alert was sent from the 45ft fishing boat shortly after 2pm on Saturday.

The men, who had been fishing for crab, got into difficulty 20 miles north of Fanad Head.

The boat lost power and encountered steering difficulties while violent waves smashed the wheelhouse windows.

Lough Swilly RNLI volunteers launched their all-weather lifeboat and started their 90-minute journey to the scene some 34 nautical miles from their station.

The rescuers faced gale-force wind and sea swells of 50ft.

Once on scene, Lough Swilly RNLI’s lifeboat crew found that the fishermen were cold, tired and shaken from the severity of the weather conditions – but were otherwise in good health.

The fishermen were left onboard their boat because of the severe weather conditions while the lifeboat crew battled to connect a tow.

After several tow attempts the boat was eventually brought back to Lough Swilly.

Joe Joyce, Lough Swilly RNLI lifeboat press officer, said: “This was an extremely challenging call out for all the RNLI volunteers involved and we are delighted that the five fishermen were brought safely back to shore.

“Our lifeboats launched in dangerous weather conditions on Saturday afternoon and our volunteers, 20 in all, spent almost 15 hours at sea, most of it in the hours of darkness.

“They faced gale force conditions with great courage, selflessness and teamwork they successfully met and overcame those challenges to bring the fishermen to safety.

“While challenging for our crews, this call out was a huge testament to the level of training RNLI volunteers undergo.

“Lifeboat crew members are highly trained and skilled to carry out such challenging work and thanks to the generosity of the public, we are provided with the best of equipment and technology to save lives at sea.”

PA

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