Action which saved five fishermen has earned an RNLI bravery award for the crew of the Lough Swilly lifeboat based in Buncrana.
On 14th December 2019 the crew responded to a call-out after a fishing boat lost power in rough seas.
Five crab fishermen were in difficulty 20 miles north of Fanad Head; their 45 ft boat had lost power, and, as powerful waves struck, their vessel steered badly.
In the middle of a storm, the lifeboat crews worked with the fishermen to establish a tow in conditions where the sea swell reached 50 feet in bleak darkness.
They spent almost 15 hours in mountainous seas off Fanad Head.
Despite their ordeal, none of the fishermen was injured.
Lough Swilly’s crew, with Arranmore and Portrush crews, received a Chief Executive’s Commendation from the RNLI.
“The joint actions of all three lifeboats undoubtedly saved the crew and casualty vessel, with exemplary decision making displayed by the Coxswains,” said Mark Dowie, RNLI’s Chief Executive.
John McCarter, Lough Swilly RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, accepted the award on behalf of the Buncrana-based crew.
“I am always proud of our crew but their actions that night were nothing short of incredible,” he said.
“To be at sea for such a long period is one thing, but to do it in incredibly challenging seas and alongside our colleagues, was a lifesaving mission like no other.”