Lifeboat taskings to rescue three women from the fast-flowing Corrib in Galway earlier this week have prompted the port’s harbour master to call for safety railings on the city’s riverbank.
The Galway RNLI inshore lifeboat launched twice on Monday to rescue three women from the icy waters in operations involving Galway Fire Brigade and the Garda. Galway harbour master Capt Brian Sheridan said it was time to reconsider proposals for railings on exposed areas like the Spanish Arch.
Railings installed in the dock area near the harbour marina had reduced the incidence of accidental drowning, he noted. The first alert was shortly after 2.30pm when a young woman was seen entering the river at O’Brien’s Bridge. The Irish Coast Guard rescue 115 Shannon helicopter was tasked, along with the Galway lifeboat.
After an extensive 40-minute search, a local vessel spotted the woman in the water just outside the harbour gates near Lough Atalia. The lifeboat crew recovered the woman, and administered CPR. She was transferred to the National Ambulance Service and taken to University Hospital, Galway, where she was pronounced dead.
The second alert at 7.30pm followed a report that a woman had been seen in the water at Wolfe Tone Bridge. The Port of Galway pilot vessel was assisting a ship at the time, but joined the search with the Galway lifeboat crew. Another woman who had seen what had occurred deployed a lifebuoy ring and located the casualty in the river and kept her head above water.
The two women, one of whom was unconscious, were rescued by the lifeboat crew and fire brigade staff within 20 minutes. Paramedics at the lifeboat station revived the unconscious woman and she was taken to hospital for treatment.
The lifeboat’s actions followed the successful rescue of a man who had fallen into the canal accidentally and been swept down river in the early hours of last Friday morning. Three fire brigade staff were swept down river while trying to locate him, and all four were picked up by the lifeboat.
“We were waiting just below the bridge arch with spotlights on,” Galway RNLI lifeboat operations manager Mike Swan said, paying tribute to the fire officers and lifeboat crew. “We would like to remind the public to be alert and vigilant, and to phone 999 or 112 if they need to alert the emergency services. The faster they act, the better for everyone,” Mr Swan said. Bad weather has hampered the water search on Lough Mask for an angler who has been missing since last week.
The man’s boat and lifejacket were located. The Corrib Mask Search and Rescue team, which was out on the lake all week, was forced to suspend the water search on Monday but shore searches have continued.