Lough Neagh fishermen assist in rescue of two men

04 May 2018

Lough Neagh fishermen John James and Michael Paul Quinn acted quickly and bravely when they witnessed a sand dredger sink into the icy waters of Lough Neagh on the 23rd April.

Working with another sand dredger on the scene they assisted in recovering two casualties who were transferred to Lough Neagh Rescue Ardboe Lifeboat and then taken by ambulance from Ballyronan Marina to Antrim Area hospital.

One man was suffering from hypothermia but both men have now been discharged.  Lough Neagh Coastguard also provided assistance.

John James and Michael Paul attended the recent Northern Ireland Fishermen's Safety Forum workshop in Toome and they credit the knowledge they gained there in helping them to know what to do when the emergency occurred.

Lough Fishermen Heroes

Pat Close, CEO of the Lough Neagh Fishermen's Co-Operative Society said "The Co-operative would like to commend all those involved in the rescue of two men following the loss of their dredging pontoon yesterday morning on Lough Neagh."

He said "We wish the men involved a speedy recovery following their ordeal. The crews of the Lough Neagh lifeboats, the sand dredger which was at the scene and our own fishermen John James and Michael Paul Quinn, all have our highest admiration for their successful rescue of the two men."

Mr Close went on to say "Thanks to the recent Northern Ireland Fishermen's Safety Forum life saving training at Toome Eel Fishery, our fishermen responded swiftly to help bring the men to safety."

In the wake of the incident John James and Michael Paul have vowed to install a Man Overboard ladder on their fishing boat as their experience has taught them first-hand the difficulties of recovering a casualty from the water. The importance of these simple stowable ladders (which provide an effective means of recovering a man overboard) was demonstrated to Lough Neagh fishermen at the NIFSF event held there in March. It is hoped that a wider roll out of this technology to the Lough Neagh fleet and the wider Northern Irish fishing industry will happen over the coming months.

The Northern Ireland Fishermen's Safety Forum (NIFSF) is a group set up by fishermen, for fishermen & supported by a wide range of organisations with a remit for fishing safety including Seafish, the MCA, RNLI, DAERA, MAIB, the Fishermen's Mission, the NI Fisheries Harbour Authority and local fishermen's training providers. The aim of the Forum is to "Make Fishing Safer Together".