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Man who died in Wexford boating accident was on fishing trip

Irish coast guard were at the scene of the boat crash
Irish coast guard were at the scene of the boat crash

An elderly man who died in a boating accident off the south coast of Ireland was on a fishing trip with family.

The 73-year-old from Salisbury, Wiltshire, was with seven other men, a woman and a teenage boy when the rigid inflatable was swamped by a wave off the Wexford coast.

The RNLI believe they were in the water for about five hours before being pulled out by staff on the local ferry, also local volunteer lifeboat crew.

The alarm was raised at about 11.30pm last night after they failed to return to the fishing port of Kilmore Quay and about an hour later the local passenger vessel An Crossan found them clinging to the hull of their 18ft craft half a mile off the Great Saltee island.

All of them were wearing lifejackets.

The elderly man was pulled on to ferry, which operates to the Saltee Islands, and within minutes transferred to an RNLI lifeboat and then airflifted by the Irish Coast Guard to University Hospital Waterford. He later died.

Aidan Bates, of Kilmore Quay RNLI, said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in this incident and we would like to wish them all a speedy recovery from their ordeal.

"The party had done the right thing in letting someone know when they were due back and thankfully, as a result of that, the alarm was able to be raised."

The elderly man was among the group, believed to be members of his extended family, who had been in Wexford for a get together and had travelled to Kilmore Quay for a sea fishing trip.

The went to sea at 4pm yesterday and were due back before sunset and their failure to return prompted another relative to call emergency services.

After the alarm was raised, the lifeboat from Kilmore was making its way towards Ballyteigue and the Coningmore Rocks off the Wexford coast when they got a radio call from the ferry that an upturned hull had been spotted and the anglers were in the water.

It is understood the group could be heard in the water shouting after the ferry's lights went out briefly during the search and rescue.

Lifeboat crews reported that the fishing boat capsized after being swamped by a wave which broke the windows of the wheel house tossing the anglers into the sea.

Weather conditions at the time of the rescue were overcast and there was a force 2-3 south-westerly wind blowing, the RNLI said.

Several of those rescued were suffering from shock and were treated for the effects of hypothermia after spending hours in the water.

Ireland's Marine Casualty Investigation Board will be investigating.

Local gardai were liaising with the group to ensure next of kin are informed.