At 18.10hrs on Friday June 21 Valentia Coast Guard requested Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat to launch to search for five people reported unaccounted for, after an international flotilla of eighteen rowing boats, many with a crew of five, got into difficulties in worsening weather near Parkers Point, at the southern end of Lough Derg.
The lifeboat launched at 18.20hrs with Helm Peter Clarke, Ger Egan and David Moore on board. Winds were westerly, Force 4, gusting 5, with poor visibilty with rain and low cloud.
The lifeboat crew began search patterns alongside the Shannon based Coast Guard Helicopter, Killaloe Coast Guard, Limerick Rescue and Mount Shannon rescue and with three local boats. Lifeboat Medical Advisor Peter Hooker and RNLI crew member Dom Sharkey launched in another vessel to help with the search. It was known that of the five crew on the missing vessel, only the coxswain was wearing a lifejacket.
Information was hard to verify as rescuers worked to search the area. As boats were located, their crews were confirmed safe. It transpired that four boats had decided not to continue the journey and had returned to Terryglass, soon after they had set out earlier in the day.
At 9.40pm, the remaining boat outstanding was eventually located, safely recovered on Crow’s Island, north of Killaloe, however there was no sign of the missing crew. Shortly afterwards Gardai confirmed that the five rowers had made it to safety and the search operation was stood down.
Commenting on the callout Eleanor Hooker Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer said, “This was an extremely challenging callout for all the search and rescue crews. With so many people to account for and so many vessels on the water it was quite a job to establish who was missing. The weather worsened on the lake quite rapidly and the rowers rushed to get themselves to safety. In this instance the lifeboat crew joined with other agencies and local boats in a five hour search to locate the missing vessel. We are extremely relieved that there were no serious injuries.”
Helm Peter Clarke advises boat users ‘to check the weather forecast before setting out, to let others know where you are going and when you anticipate arriving, to always wear a lifejacket and to carry some means of communication in case of difficulties’. The lifeboat returned to station and was ready for service again at 23.15hrs
Eleanor Hooker Helm & Lifeboat Press Officer, Lough Derg RNLI LifeboatMobile telephone 0877 53 52 firstname.lastname@example.org and Niamh Stephenson, Media Relations Manager, RNLI Ireland, Airside, Swords, Co. Dublin, Tel: 00 -353-1- 8900460. Mobile: 00353 87-1254124 Fax: 00-353-1-8900458 email: email@example.com
Notes to editors
Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat station has been operating since May 2004. The lifeboat is based at Dromineer, Nenagh, County Tipperary To learn moreabout the lifeboat station go to www.rnli.org.uk/loughderglifeboat RNLI media contacts
For more information please telephone Eleanor Hooker, Lough Derg RNL Volunteer Helm and Lifeboat Press Officer on 0877 53 52 firstname.lastname@example.org or Niamh Stephenson, Media Relations Manager, RNLI Ireland, Airside, Swords, Co. Dublin, Tel: 00 -353-1- 8900460. Mobile: 00353 87-1254124 Fax: 00-353-1-8900458 email: email@example.com