Fisherman dies from head injuries during rescue

A FISHERMAN and father of three young children died on board a coastguard rescue helicopter yesterday after suffering devastating head injuries in an accident on a trawler off the Cork coast.

Seán Lynch, 34, from Castletownbere in Co Cork, passed away 10 minutes after being winched off the Roise Catriona trawler about 110km off the south-west coast early yesterday morning.

An experienced fisherman, he was only 20 minutes from medical treatment which was on standby at Cork airport.

Originally from Eyeries in west Cork, Mr Lynch lived with his wife Deirdre and their three young children — the eldest, a boy, is 10, and two daughters, the youngest of which is two — at East End on the outskirts of Castletownbere. His late father, Jackie, ran the popular East End bar.

The alarm was raised at 4.40am when the Castletownbere-based trawler owned by Damian Turner, made an emergency call to Valentia coastguard station.

It was not clear last night which skipper was on duty at the time. The vessel was about 48km south of the Fastnet when crewman Mr Lynch was apparently struck by a heavy-duty thick rope. He suffered severe head injuries and his condition was described as critical. Valentia tasked the Shannon-based Sikorsky coastguard helicopter to the scene and as the trawler returned towards the shore, the helicopter arrived over it about an hour later. While its crew of three has medical training, they are tasked specifically for search and rescue operations only. There is no doctor on board. Mr Lynch was airlifted on board the chopper and it set a course for Cork airport — about a 30-minute flight away — where emergency medical staff were on standby.

The helicopter was 10 minutes into its flight when Mr Lynch lost his fight for life. It landed at the airport at about 7.45am and Mr Lynch’s body was transferred to Cork University Hospital where he was pronounced dead at about 8am. A postmortem will be carried out to establish the cause of death.

Gardaí are planing to take statements from the crew members, however, the incident is being treated as an accident.


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