Three RNLI lifeboat crews receive award for rescue of fishing crew off Fanad Head

Lifeboat crews from Lough Swilly and Arranmore in county Donegal have received an award from the RNLI for a callout in 2019, which saw the rescuers at sea for hours in Force 11 conditions.
The actions of the lifeboat crews that night saved the lives of five people on board a fishing vessel that was in serious trouble.
For their outstanding actions at sea, which were conducted in storm force conditions, the lifeboat crews have received a Chief Executive’s Commendation from the RNLI.

Lough Swilly CE Commendation

The lifeboat crews had been requested to launch their all-weather lifeboats by Belfast Coastguard on the afternoon of Saturday, December 14 2019, following a Mayday alert from a 45ft fishing boat.
The five men who had been fishing for crab, got into difficulty 20 miles north of Fanad Head, when their boat lost power and encountered steering difficulties, while powerful waves struck their vessel.
In the middle of a storm, the lifeboat crew worked with the fishermen to establish a tow in conditions which saw the sea swell reach 50 ft. and the tow part three times.
Arranmore lifeboat crew undertook the tow and once in calmer waters transferred it to Lough Swilly lifeboat.
Lifeboat crew were at sea for fifteen hours, carrying out the rescue in darkness.
Despite their ordeal none of the fishing crew were injured.
On a recent visit to their stations, RNLI Chief Executive, Mr. Mark Dowie, presented Arranmore Coxswain Jimmy Early and Lough Swilly Lifeboat Operations Manager John McCarter with the Commendations.
Speaking about the lifesaving service, Mark Dowie RNLI Chief Executive said the joint actions of all three lifeboats undoubtedly saved the crew and casualty vessel, with exemplary decision making displayed by the Coxswains.
“I would like to express my sincere thanks on behalf of the RNLI for the dedicated service of all involved,” he said. 
Arranmore RNLI Coxswain, Jimmy Early said it is indeed a great honour to be recognised by the RNLI.
“All of our volunteer crew are delighted with this award and the rescue was a really well coordinated service with the Coast Guard and our flanking stations in Lough Swilly and Portrush,” he said. 
Lough Swilly RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John McCarter, who accepted the award on behalf of the lifeboat crew said he is always proud of his crew but their actions that night were nothing short of incredible.
“To be at sea for such a long period is one thing but to do it in incredibly challenging seas and alongside our colleagues, was a lifesaving mission like no other. I am grateful to the RNLI for recognising the commitment and dedication shown by the lifeboat crews involved,” he said. 

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