Irish Naval Service crewman thanks Spanish coast guard for saving his life

An Irish Naval Service crewman who fell ill while on humanitarian duty in the Mediterranean has thanked the Spanish coast guard for saving his life.

Ordinary Seaman Craig Clear, from Co Laois, was airlifted from the deck of the LE WB Yeats on Tuesday with a suspected collapsed lung just days after the vessel sailed from the Irish Naval Service Base in Haulbowline, Co Cork.

The Salvamento Maritimo was tasked to respond, and the crew of Hellimer 211 airlifted Mr Clear, and a doctor on board the WB Yeats, from the deck of the vessel, before transferring them to a hospital in Almeira on the Spanish mainland.

Mr Clear was later diagnosed with a collapsed lung and torn arteries. He underwent two surgical procedures and is said to be making a good recovery.

He posted a message of thanks on the Salvamento Maritimo Facebook page on Wednesday.

"Thanks, lads. Means the world, you saved my life. Keep up the good work," he wrote.

Mr Clear is too ill to continue as part of the WB Yeats's mission, and it is expected that he will be flown back to Cork as soon as his condition improves.

It is understood that family members have been flown out to be at his hospital bedside.

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