Fishermen escape blaze on sinking trawler

Two fishermen escaped from their trawler off the South-East coast yesterday after it went ablaze and later sank.

The men were forced to abandon their vessel, The Kingfisher, about six miles from the fishing village of Dunmore East in Co Waterford at about 7.30am.

After attempts to fight the blaze failed, the men issued a may day call and boarded their life raft before being taken to shore by another fishing boat.

The men were shaken but uninjured and spent no time in the water.

The cause of the blaze was unclear last night.

The Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter and Dunmore East RNLI Lifeboat attended, while the lifeboat crew tried to fight the blaze on the Cork-based vessel with water jets.

However, the fire spread below decks and was inaccessible and the lifeboat was stood down at 10am, as fears arose about the possibility of exploding fuel tanks due to the presence of gas cylinders on board.

Winchman with the Irish Coast Guard Rescue 117 helicopter, Neville Murphy, said yesterday on Beat102-103fm: “They fought right through for about an hour I think, and just when they thought they were doing well, there was a big fire right down deep in the engine and they really couldn’t control it, unfortunately.”

The vessel sank as it was being towed back to the harbour at Dunmore East.

Mr Murphy added: “When a vessel goes on fire there’s only so much you can do — they did the right thing. They got into the life raft and that’s the safest option.”


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