Update: Rescue mission off Donegal coast - lifeboats guide stricken fishing boat back to port

Fishing vessel was without proper power for hours

Update: Rescue mission off Donegal coast - lifeboats guide stricken fishing boat back to port

The RNLI Lough Swilly lifeboat attended the scene

A major rescue operation is concluding off the Donegal coast following an alert on Saturday afternoon.

Three RNLI lifeboats were launched following a Mayday call from a fishing vessel.

It is understood that it encountered engine trouble about 20 miles north of Fanad Head.

The Buncrana RNLI lifeboat was the first to be launched at around 2.20 pm.

The Portrush and Arranmore lifeboats were subsequently launched.

After around five hours at sea the lifeboats reached the wayward 15 metre fishing vessel which has drifted northwards.

Arrangements were then put in place to get the boat back to port.

The fishing vessel was taken back to the Donegal mainland under tow from the RNLI Arranmore lifeboat with the RNLI Lough Swilly Lifeboat in close proximity. The third lifeboat tasked returned to Portrush.

Conditions were difficult initially with strong winds and high waves but it became less rough later although temperatures dipped.

Five crew members were on board the fishing vessel which is understood to be an Irish registered crabber.

The rescue operation was coordinated from Belfast.

Two cargo ships - both heading from Liverpool to Montreal - were in the area at the time as the rescue operation intensified as daylight fell.

At 10.10 pm on Saturday night, the two lifeboats were still about ten miles north-west of Malin Head.

It was expected that the fishing vessel would not be back in port until around midnight, or even later.

For the Lough Swilly and Arranmore RNLI crews it was a particularly long operation as they had launched their boats in the afternoon.




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