Salvage experts were today set to launch a bid to recover a stranded lifeboat from rocks off the Antrim coast.
The Katie Hannon has been stuck fast since January 29 when she went to the aid of a ferryman whose boat got into trouble near the entrance to Rathlin Island’s harbour during gale-force winds.
A specialist salvage barge, the Terra Marique, fitted with a crane, has been sent over from Ellesmere Port, south of Liverpool, and will try to lift the lifeboat free.
The RNLI said the hull of the stricken vessel has been badly damaged but that they will not know until a full examination can be made on dry land whether the craft can be made seaworthy again.
Much of the lifeboat’s equipment was taken off as she lay at the mercy of the elements and the top part of the vessel and her two engines and gearbox were removed earlier this week as part of preparations for the salvage.
A stand-in lifeboat has already taken up station at Portrush on Co Antrim’ north coast.