Air Corps to the rescue at Lough Ree

A Westmeath farmer was delighted last Sunday when members of the Air Corps dropped in to his island home to deliver essential bales of hay to feed his animals during the cold spell.

The only remaining inhabitant of Lough Ree’s islands, John Connell (75 ), had been stranded on Inchbofin island since the waters of Lough Ree froze into one huge ice sheet.

On Saturday, members of the Garda Water Unit braved the ice and walked the mile out to the island to check if there was anything Mr Connell needed and if he would be willing to return to the mainland.

When he declined, but mentioned his cattle needed fodder, the Gardai, Army, Air Corps, and local community banded together to orchestrate a series of fodder drops to the islands of Lough Ree.

Bales of hay were delivered to John’s farm, and also to animals stranded on the lake’s other islands. The operation involved 21 helicopter flights from Muckanagh, and took most of the day on Sunday.

Local farmers accompanied the Air Corps crew in the helicopter to direct them to the best places to drop the fodder.


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