Basic safety equipment could have saved the lives of two fishermen from Northern Ireland, it has been claimed.
David Warnock, 27, and Daryl Burke, 30, died after the boat they had borrowed for a camping and fishing trip on Lough Ree, Co Roscommon, sank on March 20, 2014. Their friend, 60-year-old John Trimble, survived.
Probing the circumstances of the tragic incident, Dublin’s Marine Casualty Investigation Board found a number of holes in the 4.2 metre flat-bottomed vessel. It also discovered there were only 2 life-jackets on board.
Investigators said the back of the boat was poorly repaired after suffering previous damage, while a crucial joint between the deck and the hull was also in a poor condition.
They concluded that the large drill holes, which were found on the upper side of the craft, were more than likely the result of fitting different types of outboard brackets over the lifetime of the vessel.
The holes were believed to be 50mm below water level at the time the men set out on the boat from Hodson Bay towards their camping site along the boating lake, letting in up to 3 litres of water every minute.
This would have led to catastrophic flooding in void spaces, the investigators claimed, which would have caused the stern to submerge.
Mr Trimble says no significant wave hit the boat, which it turned out was not registered with Waterways Ireland.
In addition to only having 2 life-jackets on board, the vessel also had no flares or a VHF radio. The investigation speculates it is possible the rescue services would have arrived at the scene earlier, and perhaps saved the lives of the men, if the boat was equipped with such basic safety equipment.
The Marine Casualty Investigation Board has called on Waterways Ireland to erect signs warning boat users of local dangers, as well as the necessity of having life jackets and basic safety equipment to hand.
Source: Belfast Telegraph
Date Published: August 10, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown