Courtmacsherry RNLI in call out to person trapped in a sea inlet

Courtmacsherry RNLI’s all-weather Trent class lifeboat was called out yesterday evening, just after 5pm, to go to the immediate aid of a person who had got trapped in a sea inlet / sinkhole just off the slipway at Dunworley Beach near Butlerstown in West Cork.

Courtmacsherry RNLI crew after returning from the call out (Credit: RNLI/Nuala McAloon)

Once the personal crew bleepers were activated, the Courtmacsherry lifeboat under Coxswain Sean O’Farrell and crew of four were underway from their moorings in the harbour within minutes and proceeded at full speed to the area of the casualty.

Conditions at sea were reasonable but there was a heavy swell flowing off the coastline. The lifeboat reached the area within 15 minutes and a major land based rescue got underway involving the Old Head / Seven Heads Coast Guard crew, as they rigged themselves to climb down the sink hole/ sea inlet to access the casualty.

The trapped person had got caught in the swelling tide and fortunately her shouts for help were heard by a local walker who immediately called the rescue services. Also on the scene was the Coast Guard 115 helicopter from Shannon. As the lifeboat stood by 100m offshore and the helicopter did likewise on the shoreline, the highly trained members of the Coast Guard from the Seven Heads and Old Head area, mounted their rock climbing apparatus and lowered two of their members into the inlet / sinkhole in order to locate the trapped person.

In a professional operation carried out to perfection, the Coast Guard personnel were able to bring the young lady up the sinkhole cliff- face and to the safe surrounds of waiting HSE ambulance personnel who immediately covered her in protective sheeting and transferred her to their nearby ambulance for observation. The casualty had been in the sea inlet for well over 90 minutes and everybody was relieved as the Coast Guard Unit brought her to safety.

Vincent O’Donovan, the Courtmacsherry RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer said: ‘It has been an incredibly busy start of 2021 for our Station in Courtmacsherry with nine call outs and it was great to see the total dedication of so many voluntary people from all the rescue services today and everyday in these difficult Covid times, who drop-all and rush to the aid of others in difficulties.’

Vincent reiterated that is so important to call the rescue services at 112 or 999 quickly once any incident like this occurs, as the various rescue services are always at the ready 24 hours a day and every minute is so important to persons in difficulty.

The Courtmacsherry RNLI lifeboat crew involved in today’s call out were Coxswain Sean O’Farrell, mechanic Stuart Russell and crewmembers Mark Gannon, Peter Nunan and Sean Maxwell.

As we experience lockdown times for a few months more, the RNLI would stress to all those that are partaking in any water activities or planning a visit to the coast over the next month, to remember and follow RNLI safety advice below along with all new Government regulations and to stay safe in these different times for all Rescue Services.

  • Have a plan – check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage.
  • Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach, on the shoreline and in the water.
  • Don’t allow your family to swim alone.
  • Don’t use inflatables at all, at all on the sea.
  • Make sure to wear a Lifejacket at all times when taking to the sea in a boat.
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float.
  • In an emergency dial 999 or 112 immediately, and ask for the Coast Guard. The Rescue Services are there to help you all.

About the Author

Ann Robinson
Has a passion for coastal heritage and maritime history. Loves sharing the best of the Irish coast online. Contact me or follow me on Twitter @AnnRobinson22