Fisherman 'owes life' to vigilant farmer

Published Tuesday, 20 May 2014
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The fisherman at the centre of a dramatic rescue off the coast of Donegal tells UTV he owes his life to a local sheep farmer and her son who raised the alarm.

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Paul Doherty, who is from the area and has spent years fishing the local waters, spent over an hour in the sea at Tullagh Bay, near Clonmany on the Inishowen Peninsula after getting into difficulties on Sunday.

The father-of-four was left clinging to a lobster pot after his boat sank.

"I could see another wave coming and I knew if I stayed with the boat that it would take me down so I knew to try and get away," he said.

"I got away from the boat and I knew at that stage that my life jacket was working and was keeping my head just out of the water and no more."

Paul used a pen knife to free himself from waders and oilskins that were weighing him down.

"I just wanted to stay alive and see my family," he added.

Luckily for him, farmer Mamie Grant was tending to her sheep when she heard Paul shouting.

After alerting the Coastguard, she and her son John used a red t-shirt to signal to the fisherman that help was coming.

"From then on he stopped shouting, he knew he had been seen," she explained.

Paul added: "It was only a matter of hanging on and waiting for the boat.

"I don't know how much more I could have lasted to be honest."

Weak and hypothermic, Paul was airlifted to hospital to recover before being discharged.

He said that Mamie and John had "definitely" saved his life.

The fisherman also said his ordeal had highlighted the need for Malin Head Coastguard station, which coordinated the rescue, and is under threat of closure.

© UTV News
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