Sunday 18 August 2019

Boat owner drowned while retrieving tender

The late John Fenlon.
The late John Fenlon.

A well known Wexford man drowned while trying to retrieve his tender which was drifting away from his boat in Wexford Harbour in November 2014.

John Fenlon, late of 1 Wolfe Tone Villas, died aged 55 on November 22, 2014.

Garda Alan Collins said he was called to Crescent Quay in Wexford as a man was seen in the water.

'He had gone under and didn't resurface. There was a large crowd on the quay and the RNLI and a large boat and the helicopter were searching for him,' Garda Collins said.

He said members of Slaney Search & Rescue located the body.

A witness said Mr Fenlon's tender was drifting away from his boat so he got into the water and swam after it.

'He went under the water and came back up twice. I shouted for help as I couldn't swim. I saw someone throw him a life buoy and he just missed it.'

John Fenlon Jnr said he saw his father on the afternoon of December 22, 2014.

'That was the last time I saw my Dad,' he said.

Consultant Pathologust Dr Fergus McSweeney said in a statement that death was due to drowning.

County Wexford Coroner Dr Sean Nixon said Mr Fenlon was on his own boat and the tender started drifting away from it so he went into the water to retrieve it.

Dr Nixon recorded a verdict of accidental death, from drowning, commiserating with the Fenlon family and Mr Fenlon's friends on their tragic loss.

He said the tragedy brings home the dangers of working on the water.

'I spend a lot of time on boats and this shows how lethal they can be. It's a reminder to people that any activity involving boats can be hazardous.'

Superintendent John McDonald extended his sympathies to the Fenlon family on their loss.

The Fenlon family thanked Wexford RNLI for their outstanding efforts and bravery on the night.

'This was the worst night of our lives,' one of the Fenlon family said.

They thanked the Gardaí and everyone who offered their support including neighbours, friends and members of the wider Wexford community.

Wexford People

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