Kilmore Quay lifeboat in daring nightime rescue
Kilmore Quay RNLI rescued four fishermen in the early hours of Friday (January 8) after they feared their vessel, its deck at sea level in a howling Force Eight gale, was in danger of sinking.
The volunteer crew was requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat at 11.10 p.m. on Thursday night last night following a Mayday call that a the 13 metre steel fishing trawler Sunrise, from Dunmore East, was taking on water at Baginbun to the east of Hook Head.
The four crew onboard were fishing for herring when they got into difficulty and raised the alarm. Weather conditions at the time were challenging with a Force eight fresh gale, a rough sea and driving rain.
They were trying to head for Dunmore, but things were getting a bit hairy, so they turned round for Kilmore,' said one of the RNLI crew.
The all-weather lifeboat under Coxswain Eugene Kehoe and with six crew members on board launched within minutes and made its way to the scene approximately eight and a half nautical miles from Kilmore Quay.
Once there, the lifeboat crew observed that the vessel wasn't taking on water, but that in the challenging weather conditions, some of the pound boards used to keep the fish from moving freely, had given way. This caused a substantial amount of herring to move towards the stern of the vessel forcing it down so that the deck level ended up in the water.
The lifeboat crew assessed the situation and considered transferring the fishermen onto the lifeboat. However, a decision was made to closely monitor the situation with the lifeboat moving to the weather side of the vessel to create a lee and provide shelter to the vessel before escorting it to Kilmore Quay. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 was also on scene providing essential light overhead to guide the vessel into the harbour at Kilmore Quay. 'The fishermen rightly raised the alarm when they got into trouble and, taking our advice, they made a good decision given the weather conditions, to change their passage, turn around and head for Kilmore Quay with our escort,' said Kilmore QuaY RNLI mechanic Brian Kehoe.
'This was a slow process which took just over two hours in severe weather conditions but thankfully everyone was returned safely to shore.'