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Joey D
21st March 2004, 21:52
Three Air Corps pilots found themselves at the centre of a hazardous rescue in storm-force winds early yesterday when their yacht capsized several times in the Irish Sea. Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent, reports.

The three, including the commander of the Irish Coast Guard's north-west helicopter base in Sligo, were among a crew of five on board a 40-foot yacht bound from Southampton to Arklow. The Fast Wave II was forced to issue a "pan-pan" emergency alert at about 4 a.m. yesterday off the Tuskar Rock when it lost its mainsail in the storm and was knocked down several times.

Skipper of the vessel, Cmdt Tom O'Connor, is a round-the-world yachtsman and highly experienced sailor. He described yesterday how most of the crew were thrown overboard when the vessel was thrown over in the heavy seas, but all were wearing safety gear, including lifelines.

The west-north-west storm-force gale had not been forecast when the yacht left Land's End on Thursday morning. "We were given a forecast of maximum force six, but obviously that changed on the 180-mile leg up to Tuskar, and instead of 30-knot winds we were getting 45 knots," he said.

An Irish Coast Guard helicopter from Dublin went to the scene, along with the Rosslare lifeboat. However, the rescue services had difficulty locating the vessel as its VHF radio had been damaged and communications were limited.

The yacht was eventually located by a tanker, the Isle of Inishmore. "We realised that the Coast Guard couldn't hear us, though we could hear them, and we were trying to get close to the coast to get mobile phone coverage," Cmdt O'Connor said.

"We fired a flare, which the tanker spotted, and it informed the Coast Guard of our position."

When the helicopter and Rosslare lifeboat located the vessel, about 21 miles south of Arklow, the Arklow lifeboat was also launched. The Arklow lifeboat, under coxswain Ned Dillon, escorted the vessel in, and two of the crew were given medical treatment.




© The Irish Times

CTU
21st March 2004, 21:59
Originally posted by Joey D
The yacht was eventually located by a tanker, the Isle of Inishmore.

I thaught the Isle of Inishmore was the Irish Ferries Pembroke to Rosslare passenger/car ferry.:confused:

hptmurphy
23rd March 2004, 10:36
Irony at its finest....the government want to remove the SAR role from the AiR Corps but here they are in the middle of it...if only as the party in need of rescue........what the **** were they doing out there in the first place given the nature of the weather....don't they read the forecast!:mad:

Cheetah
23rd March 2004, 13:50
"the government want to remove the SAR role from the AiR Corps"

i thought it was already gone?