By Dan Walsh
Fethard RNLI celebrated the 25th anniversary of the local lifeboat station with a search and rescue display, off Baginbun Beach, in the company of neighbours Dunmore East RNLI and Kilmore Quay RNLI, Fethard Coast Guard and Rescue helicopter 117.
As the weather held off, a crowd gathered to observe lifeboat crews carry out a scenario which saw the three RNLI lifeboat crews work as a team to form search patterns to locate survivors of a fictional light aircraft, which had reportedly come down just off Baginbun Head.
When located, the casualties were brought ashore where the volunteer crew of Fethard Lifeboat administered casualty care and transferred them into the care of Fethard Coast Guard. In the final part of the exercise, Waterford based Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 flew overhead; in this scenario the helicopter crew would have airlifted the casualties onboard to receive more urgent medical care and transport to hospital.
Also present on the day were members of the RNLI’s Water Safety team, who provided advice and handed out waterproof pouches to water sports enthusiasts for the safe keeping of their mobile phones when they are out on the water.
Speaking about the joint exercise to mark the 25th anniversary, Volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager for Fethard RNLI, Walter Foley said; “This major exercise between the three RNLI lifeboat stations, Fethard Coast Guard and Rescue117 shows the public the services that are available to them when things go wrong. It highlights the importance of always carrying a means of calling for help on your person and to call 999 or 112 if you or someone else gets into trouble.”
Fethard lifeboat station had been off service for a period of 82 years before locals were successful in getting the historic lifeboat station reopened with an inshore lifeboat in 1996.