The actions of the lifeboat crews that night, saved the lives of five people onboard a fishing vessel that was in serious trouble. For their outstanding actions at sea, which were conducted in storm force conditions, the three lifeboat crews have received a Chief Executive’s Commendation from the RNLI.
The lifeboat crews had been requested to launch their all-weather lifeboats by Belfast Coastguard on the afternoon of Saturday 14 December 2019, following a Mayday alert from a 45ft fishing boat. The five men who had been fishing for crab, got into difficulty 20 miles north of Fanad Head, when their boat lost power and encountered steering difficulties, while powerful waves struck their vessel.
In the middle of a storm, the lifeboat crew worked with the fishermen to establish a tow in conditions which saw the sea swell reach 50 ft. and the tow part three times. Arranmore lifeboat crew undertook the tow and once in calmer waters transferred it to Lough Swilly lifeboat. Lifeboat crew were at sea for fifteen hours, carrying out the rescue in darkness. Despite their ordeal none of the fishing crew were injured.