Two tragedies recalled in annual report

FOUR of the nine fatalities investigated by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board in the past 12 months occurred in Kerry with three people losing their lives in one tragic incident alone.

The organisation was established in 2003 under the Merchant Shipping (Investigation of Marine Casualties) Act 2000 and the annual report for 2018 has just been published.

Of the six tragedies investigated, the worse in terms of the local of life occurred at Coonana Pier, Caherciveen on September 30.

At approximately 8.30am, a recreational powerboat departed from the pier with three persons on board and the vessel headed westwards to fish with rods in Dingle Bay.

The location of the kayaking tragedy on the Roughty River

Near 6 o’clock that evening a member of the public saw the bow of a boat at the entrance to Coonanna Harbour and shortly afterwards a person was spotted in the water closer to the pier.

The Coast Guard was alerted and a SAR helicopter and the Valentia Lifeboat raced to the scene but three bodies were received from the water with the remains of the boat were recovered the next day.

Just over a month later, on November 4, a party of five experienced kayakers set out on a downriver run of the Roughty River in Kilgarvan aware but one got trapped beneath a log obstructing the river.

Emergency services were alerted but it took close on an hour and a half to remove the log and the casualty was pronounced dead by a doctor at the scene.

MCIB chair, Cliona Cassidy, said anyone undertaking a voyage must also familiarise themselves with the vessel that they are using, its limitations, restrictions, the safety equipment on board, whether it is sufficient for the numbers on board and whether the vessel and the safety equipment have been papropriately maintained.

“An incident can happen very quickly and the cause is not always readily established subsequently but pre-planning, drills, plus the requisite level of knowledge can assist in avoiding an incident,” she said.

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