Farmer sparks fisherman's daring rescue

Published Monday, 19 May 2014
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A farmer helped spark a major search and rescue operation after a fisherman became stranded off the coast of Donegal when his boat capsized.

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The man, aged in his 30s, was left clinging to a lobster pot in Tullagh Bay, near Clonmany on the Inishowen Peninsula after getting into difficulties on Sunday.

Luckily, local sheep farmer Mamie Grant heard the man's cries for help and raised the alarm.

"To me it did sound like someone shouting 'help' and then I stopped and listened for a minute and there was nothing. And then I heard it a second time and then on the third time I was definite then that it was somebody calling for help," Ms Grant explained.

She immediately sent her son John on a quad bike to check the beach, where he spotted the fisherman far off shore.

"I looked out and scanned across the water I could see just a black speck out there and I was focusing in on it and I could see an arm waving," he said.

"And then I just knew straight away, that is somebody in trouble and they are shouting for help."

A Coastguard helicopter and two RNLI lifeboats raced to Tullagh Bay, where a local boat had reached the man who had been in the water for more than an hour.

A helicopter paramedic was winched down to help the RNLI crew deal with the casualty who was then flown to hospital.

Joe Joyce from Lough Swilly RNLI lifeboat was one of those involved in the rescue.

"It was an unbelievable stroke of luck," he said.

"The farmer heard a cry for help and the fact the man's voice carried so far was just truly amazing."

The fisherman, a father-of-four, spent the night in hospital and is said to be recovering well.

The rescue follows the death of a man in Portrush on the north coast after getting into difficulty while out bodyboarding on Friday evening.

He was rescued by Portrush RNLI inshore lifeboat shortly before 6pm, and was treated by both the lifeboat crew and paramedics at the scene.

However, a spokesperson for RNLI said that he later died in hospital.

© UTV News
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