Accidental death verdicts in Tit Bonhomme inquest

Jury return their verdicts on the deaths of five fishermen

Verdicts of accidental death have been returned by a jury at the inquest into the deaths of five fishermen who died when their trawler, the Tit Bonhomme collided with an island at the entrance to Glandore Harbour in West Cork 15 months ago.

Verdicts of accidental death have been returned by a jury at the inquest into the deaths of five fishermen who died when their trawler, the Tit Bonhomme collided with an island at the entrance to Glandore Harbour in West Cork 15 months ago.

Wed, May 22, 2013, 20:27

Verdicts of accidental death have been returned by a jury at the inquest into the deaths of five fishermen who died when their trawler, the Tit Bonhomme collided with an island at the entrance to Glandore Harbour in West Cork 15 months ago.

Skipper Michael Hayes (52) from Helvick Head in Co Waterford and four of his five crew, Kevin Kershaw (21) from Clonakilty in Co Cork and Egyptians, Wael Mohamed (35), Attiy Shaban (26) and Saied Alieldin (22) all died in the tragedy on January 15th 2012.

The jury returned their verdicts after hearing evidence from Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster that Attiy Shaban died from brain swelling due to blunt force trauma to the head.

Three of the other deceased, skipper Michael Hayes, Kevin Kershaw and Wael Mohamed all died from acute cardio respiratory failure due to drowning.

All had also suffered blunt force trauma injuries while Said Alieldin died from hypothermia due to immersion in the sea.

The inquest heard evidence from Marine Surveyor Eoghan O’Toole from the Marine Survey Office in the Department of Transport that the Tit Bonhomme was on its correct setting for Union Hall until it was about half a nautical mile from Glandore Harbour.

However the vessel, which was travelling at half its normal speed of 3.9 knots due to a leaking engine oil pipe, changed course for some reason at 5.29am and some six minutes later, it collided with Adam Island at the mouth of the harbour, said Mr O Toole.

The vessel was spun around in heavy seas and bounced along the southern side of the island by the heavy seas for a distance of 55 metres before its bow became snagged in rocks, its stern pivoted and before landing on a reef of rock.

Coroner for West Cork, Frank O’Connell extended his sympathies to the families of the five men who died and noted a 999 call by first time sailor, Kevin Kershaw had helped alert the emergency services and played a vital part in saving sole survivor Abdelbaky Mohamed.

The widow of the skipper of the Tit Bonhomme, Caitlin Ui hAodha paid tribute to all those who had helped in the rescue and search efforts.