6 June 2023
By Tom Collins
Baltimore RNLI responded to a mayday call earlier this afternoon (Tuesday 6 June).
The volunteer lifeboat crew launched their all-weather lifeboat at 2.55pm this afternoon, after the Irish Coast Guard picked up a mayday call from a yacht with five people on board which was in distress near Sherkin Island, off the coast of Baltimore, west Cork.
The Baltimore all-weather lifeboat crew arrived at the scene just south of Sherkin Island a few minutes later, where a 40ft yacht which had become caught in old fishing nets, lost steerage and had been pushed up on to rocks by a strong tide. A vessel skippered by Jerry Smith, a Baltimore RNLI crew member, had also picked up the mayday and was standing by until the lifeboat arrived. Jerry was in communication with Baltimore lifeboat and was able to report that all five people on board had managed to get off the yacht onto the rocks and were away from immediate danger.
Due to the conditions at sea and the location of the passengers, Coxswain Aidan Bushe decided the best course of action was to launch their small inflatable Y-Boat from the all-weather lifeboat with two RNLI crew members on board. David Ryan and Kieran O’Driscoll were able to manoeuvre the Y-Boat around to a more sheltered area of the rock where one by one they were able to pick up the passengers and bring them to the safety of the lifeboat.
The Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 115, arrived on scene at 3.35pm and stood by, ready to provide assistance if required. Once all the passengers were aboard, Baltimore RNLI crew members recovered their Y-Boat and the lifeboat made its way back to Baltimore, arriving back at the station at 4.16pm. After the lifeboat crew made certain that all were okay, the passengers departed the lifeboat station. The Irish Coast Guard helicopter reported to Baltimore RNLI that at 3.50pm the yacht had sunk.
There were five volunteer crew onboard the lifeboat, Coxswain Aidan Bushe, Mechanic Nigel Kehoe and crew members Don O’Donovan, David Ryan and Kieran O’Driscoll. Conditions at sea during the call were choppy with an easterly force 5-6 wind making for a challenging rescue.
Speaking following the call out, Kate Callanan, Baltimore RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘Thankfully due to the fast reaction of the yacht’s skipper who put out an immediate mayday call with his exact location, Baltimore RNLI were able to be on the scene and providing help very quickly. If you find yourself in an emergency whilst on or near the water call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’