Belfast Telegraph

RNLI saves five men from sinking fishing boat in the Irish Sea

The Donaghadee lifeboat comes to the aid of the stricken fishing vessel
The Donaghadee lifeboat comes to the aid of the stricken fishing vessel
Brett Campbell

By Brett Campbell

Five fishermen are "safe and well" after being taken to a Co Down harbour following a terrifying ordeal in the Irish Sea.

Three RNLI boats responded to a mayday call from a Portavogie fishing boat that began rapidly taking on water just off the Isle of Man coastline on Tuesday evening.

The RNLI said the crew raised the alarm after pumps stopped working properly.

The vessel, which started to sink when water reached the engine room, was found 21 nautical miles west of Peel.

"The volunteer crew at Donaghadee RNLI launched their all-weather lifeboat, Saxon, at 6.07pm and made good speed in a northerly, force-five moderate sea," the RNLI said.

"Peel RNLI's lifeboat, Ruby Clery, was also launched at 6.07pm from their station on the Isle of Man, followed by Portaferry RNLI's inshore lifeboat at 6.46pm.

"The volunteers reached the crew, who were struggling to cope with the intake of water coming through the stern of the boat, at 7.02pm."

Donaghadee RNLI coxswain John Ashwood praised the "quick thinking of the experienced skipper", who requested help early.

He said the "commendable" fisherman realised there was a chance his crew would not have been able to bring the situation under control, so he allowed ample time for help to arrive.

"It was a good outcome that they were able to return to harbour safe and well," Mr Ashwood added.

"We would remind everyone planning a trip to sea to always respect the water.

"Always wear a life-jacket and always carry a means of communication.

"Should you get into difficulty, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard."

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