Volunteer lifeboat crew at Lough Ree RNLI responded to two callouts on Saturday afternoon ensuring the safety of seven water users on grounded cruisers.
The first emergency call was to help two people onboard a 27ft cruiser which had run aground near a navigation marker but the second was to a family of five whose cruiser had become holed after running aground and was rapidly taking on water.
After dealing with the first callout which the lifeboat crew were alerted to by the Coast Guard at 12.45pm and which saw the casualty vessel towed to safety and was able to proceed under its own power, the lifeboat had returned to station and was ready for service at 1.50pm.
Just nine minutes later a second callout came in from the Coast Guard to assist a family of five, two adults and three children, onboard a private cruiser which ran hard aground on rocks and was taking on water.
On arriving at the scene onboard the Tara Scougall inshore lifeboat, the volunteer crew saw the mother of the family with her three children in a nearby dinghy while the father battled to bail out the cruiser. The casualties were cold and wet and in need of assistance.
Lifeboat crew immediately went onboard the damaged cruiser to assist with a salvage pump but for the safety of all onboard, asked the man to evacuate the vessel as the water was coming in too fast and they feared it would become swamped. He was reluctant to do so but finally agreed when he saw that attempts to empty it were futile.
Another cruiser was standing by at a safe distance to offer assistance and the mother along with the three children were taken onboard where they were looked after. The father of the family was taken onboard the lifeboat and brought to Portrunny Harbour where the family was reunited. The damaged vessel was left on the rocky shoal and the dinghy onto which the mother and her three children had boarded after the cruiser started taking on water, was towed back by the lifeboat.
“It was a busy Saturday for our lifeboat crew and the fast turnaround between callouts certainly helped a family that were in urgent need of assistance when their vessel started taking on water. We are grateful to the occupants of the nearby cruiser who so readily assisted and comforted the lady and her three children who were cold and wet. Thankfully they were not seriously injured by the ordeal but it must have been a frightening experience,” Lough Ree RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Tony McCarth, said.