THE Arranmore RNLI Lifeboat is experiencing one of the busiest summer seasons with calls for assistance to help locate missing swimmers, medical evacuations from Arranmore and rescuing injured fishermen.
Just after midday on Wednesday the crew responded to a call for assistance from a yacht which had got into difficulty between Owey Island and The Stags, off Arranmore Island. The 37 foot yacht, with seven crew members on board were experiencing problems with the engine and sails.
On arrival at the stricken yacht the lifeboat crew tried to get a tow rope on board but with deteriorating weather conditions and a 2-3 metre swell the coxswain of the lifeboat decided to continue to escort the yacht to safety until it was safe to secure a towrope. As both the lifeboat and the yacht reached the lee side of Arranmore at Beal a’ Chreesh the voluntary lifeboat crew managed to secure a tow rope on the yacht and towed it into Burtonport at 3. 30 where two injured crew members of the yacht were transferred to Letterkenny General Hospital by ambulance.
In the meantime, at approximately 2. 15pm, another yacht with two crew members on board had got into difficulty 8 miles northwest of Arranmore when their boom broke. As the Lifeboat was already in the process of rescuing the first yacht and the 27 foot yacht was in no immediate danger the skipper of the yacht began to make his way towards Burtonport until the lifeboat could meet up with them to escort them into harbour as a safety precaution in rapidly deteriorating weather conditions.
Having safely delivered the seven crew members to Burtonport, the lifeboat then proceeded to render assistance to the second yacht in difficulty and escorted the yacht and two crew members into Burtonport. Speaking after both rescues, with the Lifeboat back on anchor at 5 45pm and ready for their next call, lifeboat mechanic, Philip Mc Cauley said “For 4-6 weeks we were really quiet and then responded to six calls in just under two weeks, but I suppose that’s the nature of the business we’re in and we are always ready to go out whenever we get the call. We were pleased to assist both casualties, it’s all part of the service”
The crew of the vessel which was travelling from Greencastle to Killybegs, raised the alarm before 7am