Capsized boat victims were in sea for hours

A teenage boy and a man in his 60s who died when their fishing boat capsized off the coast of Donegal have been named as Thomas Weir and Gerry Doherty.

Wednesday, 18th July 2018, 9:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th July 2018, 10:43 pm
A RNLI lifeboat

The 16-year-old youth is reported to be from Scotland but had been living in the Londonderry area in recent months.

Mr Doherty was originally from the Donegal area near Malin Head where the tragedy occurred, the BBC has reported.

A third man, aged in his 50s, was on the boat but was rescued after he was found clinging to a buoy in the water for a number of hours. He has since been discharged from hospital.

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Thomas Weir died in Altnagelvin Hospital after being airlifted from the sea, while Mr Doherty was found on the shore and pronounced dead at the scene.

Around 40 emergency service personnel took part in the search operation.

It is understood the small boat went to sea around 9am on Tuesday.

Joe Joyce, from Lough Swilly RNLI, was one of the crew members involved in what he described as a “massive operation” involving the large number of emergency service personnel.

He said the alarm was raised around 3.30pm by two visitors who were close to the pier at Portronan.

Two lifeboats, a coastguard vessel and a rescue helicopter were all tasked to the scene.

“When we arrived on the scene we learned that the people were in the water for about four hours,” Mr Joyce said.

“They had got into difficulty at about noon when their boat became swamped and they capsized.

“A young teenage boy was subsequently lifted by the coastguard helicopter and taken to Altnagelvin.

“A local boat found the man in his 50s clinging to a buoy and subsequently, about an hour and a half later, the third person was found washed up on the shore under Banba’s Crown, a rocky outcrop there.”

Mr Joyce said conditions on the day were “very favourable” but described Malin Head as having some of the most “treacherous waters in the world”.