Three fishermen were rescued off the coast of Inishowen last night after their boat suffered engine failure and they drifted miles from shore with no means of communication.
Joe Joyce, PRO of Lough Swilly RNLI, told the ‘Journal’ the three men, from the Malin Head area, took the boat out at around 7.30pm to test the engine, which subsequently failed.
The alarm was raised at midnight by members of the public, who had noticed they had not returned.
Malin Head Coastguard co-ordinated and launched a search, involving two Lough Swilly RNLI lifeboats, (including their new Shannon class lifeboat), the Portrush lifeboat, a unit from Greencastle Coast Guard and the Coastguard rescue helicopter 118.
They were aided by the fishing community from Malin and Glengad who launched to back up the emergency services.
Mr Joyce said the fishermen had no means of communication as there was no phone signal. They had drifted around 12 miles in what are some of the “most treacherous” currents in the world.
The trio were able to make a ‘limited’ phone call with a message saying they’re were near the Kinnego Bay Area. At 2.30am, the Lough Swilly Shannon class lifeboat picked them up on radar and located them with a searchlight.
They went up alongside them and towed them back to Malin Head pier, where a large crowd of people had gathered to welcome them back.
The rescue is the first for Lough Swilly RNLI’s new Shannon class lifeboat, which they received in April.
Mr Joyce said that as a result of having the new lifeboat, they saved about 50 minutes during the rescue, which took place around 30 miles from their station.