Rescuers bring runaway speedboat under control

A crew had to jump aboard an unmanned runaway speedboat heading for a busy pier, in what was one of four dramatic rescues Baltimore RNLI performed in just 24 hours.

The first alarm was raised at 4.10pm on Friday when two men, who were practicing manoeuvres in the harbour, were flung into the sea from their rib after its steering wheel came off.

Sea conditions were rough with south-easterly force 5-6 winds. The unmanned rib continued to circle at speeds of up to 20 knots, and moving in an easterly direction towards the pier.

A local tour boat, Sea Safari, operated by Micheal Cottrell, stood by to maintain a safety cordon around the rib.

The two men who had been thrown overboard had managed to swim away from the rib and found shelter on a visiting ketch, which was anchored near Sherkin Island a few hundred metres away.

The RNLI launched its inflatable boarding boat from the all-weather lifeboat with Pat Collins and Tadhg Collins on board.

Pat Collins moved the lifeboat boarding boat close enough to the rib to allow Tadhg Collins jump on board, where he was able to knock the powerful engines out of gear.

They then towed the rib back to Baltimore harbour.

The men who had been on board were picked up by the all-weather lifeboat Alan Massey, and given a full medical check.

Then on Saturday force 7 easterly winds resulted in three call-outs from stricken yachts in just two hours.

A 35ft cruiser with an elderly couple on board had dragged anchor in the harbour. Ronan Callanan of Inshore lifeboat crew (ILB) went aboard, hauled the anchor and brought the yacht back to Baltimore pier.

Within minutes, another call came through that a 45ft yacht without steerage or power with a young couple on board, was in danger of going aground on Sherkin Island.

The ILB was launched and helm Mr Cottrell put Mr Callanan on board to establish a tow and bring the vessel back her to her mooring.

Minutes later, a third call came through that a 30ft yacht with two men on board was without steerage and was pinned on another yacht mooring. Again, Mr Callanan released the yacht’s boarding dinghy setting the yacht free, before towing her back to pier.

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