By Dan Walsh
Four people were rescued this morning (Thursday) after their 14m yacht got into difficulty and subsequently sank 50 miles off the Wexford coast.
The volunteer Kilmore Quay crew were requested to launch their all-weather Tamar class lifeboat Killarney, by the Irish Coast Guard at 2.44am and assess the situation where the vessel had sustained a damaged rudder 50 miles south of Kilmore Quay.
The lifeboat under Coxswain Eugene Kehoe and with four crew members onboard immediately launched and made its way to the scene. The yacht had been on passage from Dublin to Vigo in Spain and had left Kilmore Quay yesterday afternoon.
On their way to the scene, the lifeboat crew were updated that the yacht’s crew had made the decision to turn back and slowly make their way to Kilmore Quay.
Arriving at the location at 5.30am, the lifeboat crew checked that all onboard the yacht were safe and well before assessing the situation. A decision was made to establish a towline and return the vessel to the nearest port which was Kilmore Quay.
As the yacht began to take on water, the lifeboat crew proceeded to place a salvage pump on the vessel, but such was the speed at which the vessel was taking on water, it was not enough to deal with the situation.
A second salvage pump was requested by the Irish Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 117 from Waterford which was also tasked to the scene. However, it was decided at this stage to remove the four people from the yacht and transfer them safely onto Kilmore Quay RNLI’s lifeboat. The yacht subsequently sank.
The lifeboat brought the casualties safely back to Kilmore Quay where they arrived at approximately 11am.
Speaking following the call out, Kilmore Quay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John Grace, said: ‘It is always sad when a vessel is lost at sea but thankfully the crew onboard the yacht was safely rescued and are now back on shore. The casualties did the right thing in raising the alarm when they encountered problems in the early hours of this morning which helped to prevent the situation from becoming much worse. Despite the best efforts of everyone on scene, the vessel took on a lot of water. Our priority then was to ensure that the casualties were taken off the yacht and transferred safely onto the lifeboat.
‘We would like to wish the casualties well following their ordeal this morning and we would like to commend our volunteers who despite the early call and darkness of night, did not hesitate to respond.’ The Kilmore Quay RNLI lifeboat crew involved in the call out were Coxswain Eugene Kehoe, mechanic Philip Walsh and crew members Aidan Bates, Sean Furlong and Nigel Kehoe.