By Patrick Flynn
An elderly fisherman has been rescued from heavy seas off Co Clare after the engine in his small rubber dinghy failed.
The alarm was raised by a surfer at around 4.30pm after he realised the man was in difficulty near the Cliffs of Moher.
The man in his late 60’s, believed to be Eastern European, had been fishing alone off Aill Na Searrach when the engine on his 2.2m (7.2ft) dinghy failed. He had been attempting to row back to Doolin but was making very little headway.
As darkness fell, the Doolin unit of the Irish Coast Guard was alerted while the Shannon based search and rescue helicopter, Rescue 115, was also tasked to assist in the search.
As the rescue boat made its way to the scene, the crew of Rescue 115 remained in the area using the helicopter’s powerful lights to illuminate the scene below. The man was taken on board the rescue boat while his dinghy was towed behind.
Conditions in the area at the time were said to be ‘very challenging’ with a large sea swell reported.
On reaching the pier at Doolin, the man was met by gardaí who warned him of the dangers of launching such a small boat in rough conditions.
In 2011, a man drowned after he was tossed into the sea from a tiny dinghy near Kilkee also in Clare.
The Latvian national was pronounced dead in hospital after he was recovered unconscious from the sea near Donegal Point.