Achill father and son receive bravery award for sea rescue
AN Achill father and son received a bravery award after they helped save the life of two kayakers who got into difficulty after capsizing off Dooagh in 2012.
Tony McNamara and his son, Patrick, from Dooagh on Achill Island were presented with Marine Ministerial Letters of Appreciation for Meritorious Service for their ‘quick decision-making and acting with skill, courage and initiative’ by saving the life of a kayaker who capsized and his leg got caught on a rope while under the water.
They were presented with their award at the National Marine Gallantry and Meritorious Service Awards 2014 on Thursday at Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park hosted by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe, TD.
The kayakers, who were a father and son on holidays from Glasgow, were fishing off Dooagh pier when the incident occurred in Dooagh Bay on the afternoon of August 23, 2012.
As they were fishing, the son got into difficulty and his kayak overturned and as the father went to help, his kayak also overturned and he caught his leg on a rope. He lost consciousness but fortunately they brought marine flares with them and his son had the presence of mind to set them off which drew the attention of people on the shore.
Fishermen, Tony and Patrick McNamara were returning from Purteen Harbour by car when they noticed the flare and immediately made their way to Dooagh pier. They launched a currach and went to assist the two kayakers.
They managed to take the two men to Dooagh pier where the Achill Coast Guard and ambulance service were waiting. The Coast Guard then brought them to the Keel Sandybanks to meet the Coast Guard helicopter which brought them to Castlebar. After receiving treatment, the two were released from hospital and have made a full recovery.
Speaking following the incident, a spokesperson for the Achill Coast Guard said the man was very fortunate to have survived.
“The father had taken on a lot of water after falling into the water and was in and out of consciousness and they were both very lucky. There was a good response from the people on the shore to the flares. I was later talking to a person in the head office who said they received so many 999 calls they could not handle them.”
The Achill Coast Guard were also recipients of an award at the ceremony when they received the Marine Meritorious Service Medal for their courage, tenacity, initiative and professionalism to save a man’s life in dangerous conditions of darkness, rough terrain, poor weather and an extended period of being exposed to such a difficult mission on Slievemore, in November 2009.