Search for trawlerman abandoned

The Irish Coast Guard Marine Rescue Centre at Valentia has confirmed it received notification of the man-overboard incident this morning and launched a search operation. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien/The Irish Times

The Irish Coast Guard Marine Rescue Centre at Valentia has confirmed it received notification of the man-overboard incident this morning and launched a search operation. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien/The Irish Times

Tue, Feb 12, 2013, 00:00

A search has been stood down for a Spanish fisherman missing from a trawler off the south west coast after hopes of finding him alive began to fade this afternoon.

The 42-year-old Spaniard went overboard from the 36 metre Ecco Homo some 40 kilometres south west of Mizen Head in Co Cork at around 4am this morning.

The alarm was raised and the Irish Coastguard Marine Rescue Centre at Valentia began co-ordinating a major search operation for the missing man.

The Irish Coastguard Sikorski helicopter from Shannon, Rescue 115, was dispatched to the scene and the Irish Coastguard Sikorksi helicopter from Waterford, Rescue 117, also assisted.

RNLI Lifeboats from both Baltimore and Castletownbere also joined in the search operation as did the Naval Service ships, the LE Aisling and the LE Emer which were in the area.

A number of local fishing boats from West Cork which were in the area also joined in the search for the man who was one of a crew of six on the boat fishing out Celeiro in north west Spain.

However with water temperatures of just 10 degrees Celsius, the estimated survival time is four hours and after eight hours, the search was stood down around midday today.

The man had earlier complained of feeling unwell yesterday afternoon and the Irish Coastguard Sikorski helicopter, Rescue 117, had gone to medically evacuate him from the boat.

However strong swells on yesterday evening meant the Ecco Homo was rolling heavily in the water and it was decided to abort the medical evacuation operation.

The skipper of the trawler was instructed to proceed to Castletownbere where the man was due to receive medical attention, but he went overboard before the boat was able to make landfall.