Four RNLI lifeboats were dispatched to a sinking 42-metre Dutch training vessel Astrid, which had hit rocks inside the Sovereign Islands at Ballymacus Point near Kinsale in Cork.
All 30 people on board were brought to safety when Kinsale lifeboat transferred all the casualties from the sinking ship onto Courtmacsherry RNLI lifeboat and a local vessel. They were then taken to Kinsale.
Both Kinsale and Courtmacsherry RNLI lifeboats were called out at 12 noon today (Wednesday, July 24) to go to the immediate aid of the sail training vessel that had got into difficulties on the western entrance to Kinsale Harbour in Cork. There was a two metre swell and winds were Force five to six. Ballycotton and Crosshaven RNLI were also launched. Kinsale RNLI lifeboat was first on scene.
The training vessel had lost power and was driven on to rocks by a strong southerly wind at the western entrance to Kinsale Harbour. The grounded vessel was taking on water and a crewmember from Kinsale RNLI was put on board. Eighteen of the casualties were taken off the Astrid by Kinsale RNLI lifeboat and transferred to Courtmacsherry lifeboat, before being brought to safety.
The remaining twelve were put onto a liferaft deployed by the Astrid’s crew, which was towed to safety by the Kinsale lifeboat and picked up by a local vessel. The people on board the liferaft were then taken to Kinsale harbour and assessed by medical teams.
Irish Coast Guard helicopters from Waterford and Shannon were also on scene along with ambulances and medical crews from Cork.
Speaking about the callout Courtmacsherry RNLI Coxswain Sean O’Farrell said, “Everyone was very fortunate. I want to praise the quick thinking of the skipper and the crew from the Astrid. They kept calm and did everything we asked them to do. We were able to get them to safety quickly and a major tragedy was averted. To be able to recover thirty people was a great day for everyone involved. It was a great team effort between the RNLI lifeboats and all the vessels that came to their aid.”