Marine deaths to be investigated

Wed, Aug 15, 2012, 01:00

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board will investigate four drownings recorded off the Irish coastline this week.

In the latest incident, the body of a Clare Island, Co Mayo, fisherman was recovered from the sea last night by local fishermen and taken to shore by the RNLI Achill lifeboat after a search of less than two hours off the island at the mouth of Clew Bay.

Malin Coast Guard confirmed last night the alert was raised just after 7.30pm local time, when a relative of the man – a father of three from the island – reported that his currach was overdue.

Malin Coast Guard then deployed the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard search-and-rescue helicopter, Achill RNLI and Achill Coast Guard.

Local fishing vessels also responded to the alert, and located the man’s body just after 9.30pm. It was transferred to the lifeboat and taken to Roonagh pier outside Louisburgh.

The fisherman was pronounced dead at Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board is expected to open an investigation.

The man’s name is not being released until all relatives have been informed. Sea conditions were said to be reasonable at the time with a force three south-easterly wind in the area.

Elsewhere, the bodies of two fishermen were recovered from the sea off Co Clare yesterday after their 26ft boat sank on Monday. Michael Galvin (64) and Noel Dickinson, who was in his late 20s, were relocating their lobster pots ahead of an anticipated storm.

The reasons why the vessel sank, apparently very quickly in calm conditions, are also to be investigated by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board.

The board has also opened an inquiry into a sailing tragedy in which a 58-year-old father of three died when his dinghy overturned in Kenmare Bay on Monday afternoon.

John O’Leary, Barness, Allihies, Co Cork, was on a sailing trip with his son Christy (18) when their 16ft dinghy Enterprise overturned about 200m (656ft) off Cod’s Head between Allihies and Eyries on the Beara Peninsula at about 4pm on Monday.

They spent four hours clinging to the upturned boat before attempting to swim ashore. The son managed to reach the shore and raise the alarm.

Mr O’Leary’s dinghy was recovered by the Coast Guard and handed over to officials from the Marine Casualty Investigation Board.

Mr O’Leary was a popular and well-respected figure who was deeply involved in arts activities in west Cork.

Born in Boston in 1954, he came to west Cork about 35 years ago and settled in Allihies. He was a founder member of the Beara Writing Experience Group.