Cork lifeboat crew to be honoured with first RNLI gallantry award in 10 years

An RNLI crew in Cork are to be honoured for gallantry after they saved six lives.

Cork lifeboat crew to be honoured with first RNLI gallantry award in 10 years

An RNLI crew in Cork are to be honoured for gallantry after they saved six lives.

Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat crew will receive the award from by the charity for the dramatic rescue of a fishing crew that took place in October 2018.

Coxswain Dean Hegarty is to be awarded a Bronze Medal for Gallantry by the Institution.

Lifeboat volunteers Seamus Harrington, John Paul Downey and David Fenton, along with Deputy Launching Authority Michael Martin-Sullivan, will all receive a framed Letter of Thanks from the Chairman of the RNLI.

It is the first RNLI Medal for Gallantry to be awarded in Ireland in 10 years.

On October 10, 2018, six fishermen on the Clodagh O were saved after the RNLI responded to a mayday call to the Irish Coast Guard after the 25-metre fishing boat lost power.

The lifeboat launched in darkness into a force 9 gale, driving rain and heavy squalls, to rescue the crew who "were in grave and imminent danger".

After arriving on the scene the lifeboat crew saw that the fishing vessel was located in a precarious position.

The Coxswain made the decision not to take the crew off the boat but instead establish a towline in breaking four to five-metre swells.

Due to deteriorating weather, the crew had only a short window of opportunity to save the men before the vessel would hit the rocks or cliff face and be lost.

The lifeboat crew were able to save the fishermen from immediate danger before bringing them safely back to Castletownbere.

"In making the awards, the RNLI Trustees recognise the complexity of the service, the level of risk and the quality of decision making by all involved in the service," said RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie.

"These awards mark the courage, skill and dedication shown by the Coxswain, crew and officials involved, and are a testament to outstanding teamwork and seamanship in perilous conditions which resulted in the successful rescue of six people."

Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Paul Stevens congratulates Coxswain Dean Hegarty on the news of his Bronze Medal for Gallantry by the RNLI
Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Paul Stevens congratulates Coxswain Dean Hegarty on the news of his Bronze Medal for Gallantry by the RNLI

Paul Stevens, Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: "We are extremely proud of our lifeboat crew for their incredibly brave actions that night, which resulted in the saving of six lives.

"The RNLI does not give out awards for gallantry lightly and to receive one is a great privilege.

"We are a strong fishing community here and we have seen too much loss at sea.

"This rescue was relatively fast in lifeboat terms but carried out in extremely challenging conditions and relying on absolute precision and split-second decision making by our Coxswain.

"The skill and expertise of the lifeboat crew onboard meant that every action was well-executed and successful along with the sound judgement of the Launching Authority.

"I look forward to a great day out with our crew when they receive their honours in front of their proud families."

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