TREACHEROUS Members of Achill Island Coast Guard out on Dooega Head during the dramatic rescue. Pic: Achill Coast Guard/Facebook
Two men whose yacht washed ashore on Achill Island last week are set to be repatriated to their home countries via their embassies this week.
Both men were hospitalised following their dramatic experience but one was released at the weekend while the second was released last night (Monday).
Their 50 foot yacht got into difficulties at sea and washed ashore on Achill Island as their cross-Atlantic journey almost ended in disaster.
It’s believed that the yacht encountered problems off the west coast early last week and capsized with the two men on board. It is understood the yacht’s mast broke in stormy seas.
However, no distress signal was issued and the yacht subsequently washed up at a perilous location known locally as Aill an Chrotaigh, on the Minaun Cliffs. It is close to Dooega Head, on the south of Achill Island.
The yacht and its crew of two were there for three days before one of them scaled the perilous cliffs and raised the alarm in Dooega on Friday. There were strong, gale force winds in Dooega for most of those three days.
Achill Island Coast Guard, with the assistance of the RNLI, attended and because of the remote location, the second crew member had to be airlifted to safety by the Rescue 118 helicopter.
Authorities say both men were emaciated and dehydrated. The men told rescuers that one of them is Spanish and the second is from Colombia. Neither was travelling with a passport.
The men said they had set off from a destination in the Caribbean and were hoping to travel to Ibiza.
On Saturday Customs and Excise officers carried out an examination of the location, assisted by An Garda Siochána. They were lowered to the location by an Aer Corps helicopter.
It’s understood that no navigational equipment, incriminating evidence or identifying documentation of any kind was found. Nor was there any food or water on board.
Local fishermen in Dooega say both men were ‘extremely lucky’ to have come ashore at Aill an Chrotaigh as it is the only place along the cliffs that they could have beached the boat.
“If they had landed in any other inlet, the boat would have been smashed against the rocks and they would have had no means of escape. Aill an Chrotaigh is the only inlet along there where the cliffs could be scaled at all from the sea. It was still a difficult climb but it would have been impossible elsewhere,” one local fisherman said.