Cork lifeboat crew to be honoured with gallantry award for brave rescue of six fishermen
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Cork lifeboat crew to be honoured with gallantry award for brave rescue of six fishermen

AN RNLI crew from Cork are being honoured for the heroic rescue of six fisherman stranded at sea without power.

Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat crew are to be honoured with the RNLI Medal for Gallantry for their efforts back on October 10, 2018.

That was the night they answered the mayday call of the Clodagh O, after the 25-metre fishing boat lost power in treacherous conditions.

Despite gale force nine winds, driving rains and heavy seas, the crew set off on a lifeboat into pitch black.

With the fishing boat's crew in “grave and imminent danger” their rescuer's were forced to act quickly to establish a towline to the vessel.

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It was an operation conducted at breakneck speed with the crew well aware that time was of the essence if they were to prevent the fishing boat being destroyed or lost.

Incredibly, they succeeded in steering the six fishermen and their boat away from danger, bringing them back to the safety of Castletownbere in the process.

In recognition of his efforts Coxswain Dean Hegarty is to be awarded a Bronze Medal for Gallantry by the Institution – the first RNLI Medal for Gallantry to be awarded in Ireland in 10 years.

Lifeboat volunteers Seamus Harrington, John Paul Downey and David Fenton, along with Deputy Launching Authority Michael Martin-Sullivan, will also receive a framed Letter of Thanks from the Chairman of the RNLI.

RNLI Chief Executive Mark Dowie said: "In making the awards, the RNLI Trustees recognise the complexity of the service, the level of risk and the quality of decision making by all involved in the service.”

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"These awards mark the courage, skill and dedication shown by the Coxswain, crew and officials involved, and are a testament to outstanding teamwork and seamanship in perilous conditions which resulted in the successful rescue of six people."

Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Paul Stevens,  said: "We are extremely proud of our lifeboat crew for their incredibly brave actions that night, which resulted in the saving of six lives.

"The RNLI does not give out awards for gallantry lightly and to receive one is a great privilege.

"We are a strong fishing community here and we have seen too much loss at sea.

"This rescue was relatively fast in lifeboat terms but carried out in extremely challenging conditions and relying on absolute precision and split-second decision making by our Coxswain.

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"The skill and expertise of the lifeboat crew onboard meant that every action was well-executed and successful along with the sound judgement of the Launching Authority.

"I look forward to a great day out with our crew when they receive their honours in front of their proud families."