Fisherman killed when hauling equipment broke

The FV Liberty had been single-net bottom-trawling off the Cork Coast when Mr Wyles was killed.

A father of one who died in a fishing accident last year was hit on the head by machinery as a net was hoisted, an inquiry has found.

Vincent Wyles, 24, from Castlegregory, Co Kerry, had been on board the FV Liberty on February 14, 2013, about 37km south of the Old Head of Kinsale, Co Cork, when the accident happened.

A report by the Marine Casualty Investigation, released yesterday, found that a rope failed during hauling of the gear, causing a split link to strike Mr Wyles.

The 13m fishing vessel had left Dunmore East the day before with a skipper and two crew members to go single-net bottom-trawling.

During the haulage operation, all of the crew were on the deck of the vessel. A lifting rope suddenly went slack and split links fell to the deck.

The skipper saw Mr Wyles slump to the deck with blood pouring from the left side of his head. He called the Coast Guard for helicopter assistance.

It was thought Mr Wyles was already dead by the time the helicopter arrived.

During the helicopter rescue operation, an emergency hoisting system was successfully deployed after both the winchman and stretcher were pulled off the deck and went into the sea.

The investigation could not establish the cause of the failure of the haulage rope on the fishing vessel because it and part of the net was jettisoned when the vessel was being manoeuvred for the helicopter operation.

What is known is that the split links used were not compatible and were prone to jamming. Also, the head block used for the ropes were in a poor condition.

The investigation also found that none of the crew had undertaken basic safety training and that the vessel’s radio equipment was in poor condition.

It also showed that a risk assessment was not completed; an annual inspection was not carried out for lifting equipment; and personnel had not completed the required training.

The report recommends that lifting equipment should be included in the code of practice for fishing vessels.


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