Galway Civil Defence – Boat Crew to the Rescue – December 2013

14 January 2014

On Sunday 29th December 2013 members of Galway Civil Defence Boat Crew were preparing to launch a RIB for a training exercise on the River Corrib from the Corrib Boat Club. The crew observed what appeared to be 2 kayakers in difficulty near the safety pontoons at the Salmon Weir. They were paddling back to their club slipway when they were pulled by what was a very strong flow of water channelling down the River Corrib due to heavy rain fall and all weir gates being open to relieve flooding of land up river.
As the Civil Defence personnel carried out a risk assessment of the task that lay ahead, they discovered that there were 3 casualties trapped at the safety pontoons ,with 2 of those in the water. A plan was formulated and the 3 casualties got a quick brief of the crews intentions. Crew members deployed throw bags & strops to the casualties and positioned the boat in safety behind the old railway pillars on the river to shelter the boat and crew from the strong current. The 2 casualties in the water were brought on board, one at a time by letting them float in to the sheltered area behind the pillar. The RIB was used to tow the remaining casualty to safety.
Downstream safety was provided by a launch from a local Jesuit Rowing Club and further throw bags were in position by a Civil Defence member on the bank.

All 3 casualties were suffering from the effects of their time in the water and were treated by Civil Defence members. Warm drinks and showers were organised by Civil Defence at the Corrib Boat Club and the rescued thanked Civil Defence for their intervention in what was rapidly becoming a serious incident.

As the boat crews regularly train in the river and lake, their familiarity of the area played a huge part in executing the rescue.

Local radio station Galway Bay FM, the local papers and the NUI Kayak Club praised Civil Defence members for the professionalism in performing a rescue and preventing a tragic outcome.

Article from the Connacht Sentinel: