TRAGEDY AT SEA The Air Corps at work at the site of the rescue operation. Pic: Irish Air Corps
John Healy (57) to be buried in Pullathomas cemetery on Friday afternoon
The funeral arrangements have been announced for the fisherman who died off the Erris coast on Tuesday afternoon after the vessel he was working in capsized.
John Healy (57), from Gorthmellia, Barnatra, Ballina, and formerly from Glencullen Bridge, Bangor Erris, will repose at Healy Funeral Home, Barnatra tomorrow (Thursday) evening from 4pm to 8pm. His funeral Mass will take place in St Patrick’s Church in Inver on Friday at 12 noon, with burial afterwards in Pullathomas Cemetery.
Mr Healy is survived by his wife Norah, and three adult sons, John, Padraig an Marty, all of whom are believed to be working in the UK. Mr Healy was from a large, well-known family who were brought up at Glencullen Bridge in the heart of Bangor Erris.
Local parish priest, Fr Michael Nallen, said the community at large are still very much shocked and coming to terms with Mr Healy’s death.
“John was a lovely man, a hard working small farmer and fisherman all his life, and the whole community is very sorry for his wife and three sons. It’s another terrible tragedy for the area to deal with,” said Fr Nallen.
Two other men, both in their 20s, were also taken from the water after the Aisling Martin boat capsized 16 nautical miles northwest of Eagle Island, but both are expected to make full recoveries.
It is believed the three men were fishing for crab when their boat began to sink rapidly and the occupants could only make a broken mayday call, with partial co-ordinates, to the Coast Guard, before they had to leave the vessel around 12.30pm on Tuesday after. However, the rescue was made more difficult due to a lack of information, according to the Coast Guard.
“We didn't have the name or type of vessel and we were only able to get the latitude and not longitude,” said a Coast Guard official.
However, the Air Corps’ Casa maritime patrol aircraft happened to be patrolling the area at the time and spotted the men on the life raft after they set off flares.
“We were very lucky the Air Corps was in the area and they were rescued,” said the official.
“Whatever happened (causing the boat to sink), it happened very quickly.”
All three men were rushed to University Hospital Sligo after rescuers winched them to safety aboard the helicopter. However, Mr Healy was pronounced dead at University Hospital Sligo yesterday afternoon.
The Marine Casualty Investigation Board has launched an investigation and local gardaí will also prepare a report for the local coroner.