A Major Emergency Plan swung into action at around midday today (24/07/13) at Oysterhaveen, Kinsale off the Cork Coast, after a 42 metre vessel hit rocks and began taking water.
Shortly before midday, Four RNLI Lifeboats were launched and two Coast Guard helicopters were mobilised to the scene.
There were 30 people on board the Dutch training vessel, the Astrid. 18 crew members were rescued by the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat. The remaining 12 were put onto a liferaft deployed by the Astrid’s crew, which was picked up by a local vessel after being towed to safety by the Kinsale Lifeboat.
The RNLI have said there was a two meter swell and winds were force five to six at the time.
Lifeboats from Kinsale, Courtmacsherry, Ballycotton and Crosshaven took part in the emergency operation, while Irish Coast Guard helicopters from Waterford and Shannon also took part.
Following the successful rescue operation, Courtmacsherry’s RNLI Coxswain Sean O’ Farrell said “Everyone was very fortunate. I want to praise the quick tinking of the skipper and the crew from the Astrid. They kept calm and dis everything we asked them to. We were able to get them too safety quickly and a major tragedy was averted. To be able to recover 30 people was a great day for everyone involved. It was a great team effort between the RNLI Lifeboats and all the vessels that came to their aid”.
TWO men escaped with their lives when their light aircraft crashed into electrical wires and lost its wings.
The incident happened at Crinkle, Birr, Co. Offaly at about 4.40pm when the plane was being flown to Birr from Abbeyshrule, Co. Longford. Pilot Kieran Dardis, (60’s) and passenger Pat Cleary (early 50’s) from Mullingar, Co.Westmeath walked away from the two-seater aircraft wreckage when the Samba XL plane came down near Birr.
Following the crash, and despite their ordeal, both men managed to walk away from the crash before the first of the emergency services had arrived on scene. Their injuries were described as minor.
An Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) team was sent to the scene yesterday evening to investigate the cause of the accident.
The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport is seeking to clarify reports that there are proposals to cut more than 17 per cent of the Irish Coast Guard staff.
Reports claimed that nine of the Coast Guard’s 52 full-time staff are to lose their jobs but the Dept. said that this is “incorrect” and that there will be “no job losses”. The spokesperson said this level of staffing has been identified “as the level necessary to operate a national marine emergency response service on a three centre interoperable basis”.
“There is no proposal to cut more than 17 per cent of the Irish Coast Guard staff as reported in some newspapers,” they said. “It is the minister’s position that this level of staffing in the Coast Guard should be maintained in the context of retirements over the coming years so that the responsibilities of the emergency response services can be met. There will be no job losses in the Coast Guard.”
Under the department’s new plans, a new office – the Irish Maritime Administration – has been established to bring together all maritime functions and work on issues like improving marine safety. The department said that a new ‘technology enhancement programme’ is also underway to support the operation and responsiveness of Coast Guard rescue co-ordination centres.