Tributes flow in for heroic coast guard who lost life in "awful tragedy"

Caitriona Lucas (Picture via Facebook)
Caitriona Lucas (Picture via Facebook)

DOOLIN coastguard volunteer Caitriona Lucas, who tragically died during a search and recovery mission today, has been remembered for her dedication to others.

The librarian, who has worked as a volunteer with the Doolin Coastguard for over 10 years, died after she was plunged into the rough water alongside two of her Kilkee colleagues when their boat capsized.

The woman, who was originally from Ballyvaughan in north Clare, had joined the Doolin coastguard in January 2006, taking part in countless rescue missions as well as recording a number of the missions.

She had been a member of the Doolin team alongside her husband Bernard Lucas.

The couple, who lived in nearby Liscannor had also been involved in the Search and Rescue Dogs Association (SARDA) and helped to train dogs to assist in search and rescue operations.

She served as the organisation's national secretary from 2011 to 2014.

The community in the area are finding it difficult to cope with this shocking tragedy.

Manuel Dilucia, founder of the Kilkee Marine Rescue and local businessman, said:  "It's an awful tragedy, especially considering that they were on a rescue mission.

"The whole town is stunned. All of west Clare is stunned. The whole area is stunned. Everybody is just standing around looking at each other."

Caitriona had worked as a librarian for Clare County Council for over 16 years. 

Fianna Fáil Councillor for west Clare, Bill Chambers, praised the incredible work Lucas had been doing when tragedy struck.

He said: "She was a hero, she was trying to save a person and do her job.

"It can't be described as anything other than an awful tragedy. They were trying to save another man."

Work colleagues in the council were said to be grief stricken at her loss today.

She was remembered by friends for her good humour and as a woman who was always available to help others.

"She was such a dedicated member of the Doolin coastguard team, she was at the heart of it all. It's hard to believe this is happening," said one friend.

Another remembered her for her love of keeping fit, trekking, the outdoors and travelling.

"Everyone is just in absolute shock. I can't believe she's gone like this," added another.