Four Clifden RNLI crew members commended for their role in challenging rescue operation

Four Clifden RNLI crew members have been commended for their role in the complex rescue of a lone sailor who became stranded on the rocks at Inishark in gale force winds.

The operation was launched in severe weather conditions on September 20, 2019, when Clifden RNLI’s all-weather Shannon class and inshore Atlantic 85 lifeboats were launched at the request of the Irish Coast Guard. A sailor had come into difficulty after his yacht suffered engine failure at Inishark island. The volunteer crew were on the scene within 30 minutes and located the casualty, who had made his way onto the rocks.

The operation was hampered by a southeast Force 7/8 onshore wind, but helm Alan Pryce, using experience and training, was able to safely put a crew member ashore to assess the casualty. The casualty did not have life threatening injuries but, given the severity of the weather, the safest option was to request the assistance of the Irish Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter 118 from Sligo which winched the man to safety.

Clifden RNLI volunteers Alvin Bell, his father Andy Bell, Ian Shanahan, and Alan Pryce, who manned Clifden’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat during this challenging rescue operation, recently received letters of commendation from John Payne, the RNLI director of lifesaving operations, for their service.

John Brittain, Clifden RNLI lifeboat operations manager, congratulated the crew. “Alvin, Andy, Ian, and Alan have shown continued commitment to Clifden RNLI and I am delighted that their selfless courage and dedication has been recognised with a letter of commendation,” he said. “This particular rescue highlights the level of training, skills, and seamanship of our volunteer members and we are very grateful for the role they play in saving lives at sea.”


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