Angler dies after wave hits boat on Corrib


AN ANGLER died in hospital last night after being airlifted from Lough Corrib by the Irish Coast Guard yesterday.

Another angler was last night receiving emergency medical treatment in University Hospital Galway.

The two were among a party of three anglers who got into difficulties off Annaghdown yesterday afternoon, when their boat was hit by a wave which knocked one of them into the water.

The man overboard was reported to have been wearing a lifejacket, but an empty jacket was then spotted on the surface near the vessel.

A second crew member is said to have entered the water to try and find his colleague, but was assisted back into the boat.

The alarm was raised by another angling boat nearby at about 4.40pm, and the Irish Coast Guard Shannon-based Sikorsky helicopter located the missing angler shortly after arriving on scene.

He was airlifted to safety, having spent an estimated 50 minutes in the water.

The helicopter was then asked to return to take the second man to hospital also, as he was showing signs of hypothermia.

Both men were admitted to University Hospital Galway.

Met Éireann issued a small craft warning for this area of the west coast yesterday morning, and forecast southwesterly winds of force six to seven on coasts from Valentia in Kerry to Erris head, Co Mayo.

Lake waters are known to be even more unpredictable in uncertain weather due to the topography of surrounding landscape, and conditions can change very quickly.

Last May, a Romanian tourist drowned on Lough Mask when an angling boat in which he was travelling to shore capsized in deteriorating weather.

The weather when the group left Tourmakeady, Co Mayo, was force four to six from the south-southeast, which became stronger through the day.

When one angler became seasick, the guide decided to return to shore, but one of the two boats then capsized. The three occupants – two anglers in lifejackets and the guide in a flotation suit – were rescued by the three men in the second craft in very difficult conditions.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board recommended in its report on the incident that safety briefings be given to all those hiring angling boats, which should include the latest weather forecast and the likely conditions to be expected during the trip.

The board has repeatedly emphasised the need for lifejackets or personal flotation devices to be checked regularly and secured adequately.