THREE men were rescued on Lough Derg in Co Tipperary on Tuesday night after the engine on their motor cruiser failed in rough weather.
The alarm was raised shortly after 7pm when the 38ft vessel got into difficulty in Youghal Bay close to Ryan’s Point on the Tipperary side of the lake.
There were three middle- aged men on board the craft and they dropped anchor in an effort to prevent the vessel going aground. However, the anchor would not take hold and the boat began to roll “side-on” to steep waves. The craft was also at risk of being blown on to rocks.
Weather conditions in the area were reported to be “dirty” with winds blowing “west north-west Force 5 and gusting Force 6 with rough water”. Rescuers reported that visibility was initially good but that light had begun to fade as they arrived on scene.
The crew of the Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat based at Dromineer was alerted at 7.12pm and the crew reached the casualty vessel in less than 25 minutes.
The lifeboat crew located the vessel in Youghal Bay and quickly moved alongside to establish that all on board were safe. Rescuers found that the three-man crew was unharmed and well equipped. All three were wearing lifejackets and were able to raise the alarm themselves.
The lifeboat took the stricken vessel on tow and took the craft and its crew to the safety of the public harbour in Garrykennedy.
Lough Derg Lifeboat spokeswoman Eleanor Hooker said: “Conditions on the lake were really rough all day. The men were trying to get to shelter at the time. They raised the alarm themselves and dropped their anchor however it wouldn’t hold. They were ‘side-on’ to the weather when we arrived but they were unharmed.”
“They were well equipped and were taking no chances,” Ms Hooker added.
Meanwhile, further south on Lough Derg at Killaloe, the local unit of the Irish Coast Guard was called to assist a 66ft barge which got into difficulty in strong currents yesterday afternoon.
The barge, which had a crew of two, was towing a 30ft pontoon but it failed to make headway against a very strong flow of water just south of Killaloe Bridge.
The barge with its occupants was assisted to the calmer waters in the canal.