Author: Beni Benstead, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
Portaferry RNLI lifeboat volunteers were requested to launch by the Coastguard yesterday afternoon (Monday 26 September) as the crew of a stricken fishing vessel had launched distress flares and set off their emergency distress beacon while their vessel sank just off Ardglass in Strangford Lough, County Down.
The two-man crew, who were forced to abandon their boat and board their life raft, were picked up by a nearby fishing vessel and were taken to the safety of Ardglass where an ambulance was waiting to treat them for suspected hypothermia. Seeing the men safe, the Portaferry RNLI lifeboat crew located the wreckage and deactivated the emergency beacon.
It is not certain what caused the vessel to capsize but it is likely their equipment snagged on something under the water so instead of hauling their catch to the surface, it pulled the boat down.
Portaferry Lifeboat Operations Manager, Brian Bailie said: “It was a beautiful afternoon on Strangford Lough with good visibility and a gentle breeze but the temperature of the water can still present a serious danger. All credit to the crew of the fishing vessel for carrying the appropriate emergency equipment and for keeping it maintained to a good standard.”
The two men were reported to be safe and well.