Clare climber's hanging tale of cave rescue

Clare climber’s hanging tale of cave rescue

An professional climber from DOOLIN recalled how a group drilled round 120 bolts alongside the wall of a sea cave to avoid wasting a person who had been trapped for nearly 22 hours.

The person was compelled to remain on a ledge after a freak wave swept him right into a cave at Downpatrick Head on the Mayo coast past Killala at 6pm on Saturday September 17.

Conor McGrath, a former Coast Guard volunteer from Doolin, mentioned: “It was in all probability essentially the most technical rescue I’ve ever undertaken in my 40 years of expertise. Saving the residing man after so lengthy was a giant bonus. It is an excellent consequence for the entire group. »

Mr McGrath recalled just a few folks swimming and climbing alongside the coast once they have been washed off a ledge within the water round 5.30pm.

The RNLI lifeboat was dispatched to the scene after a lady was rescued by kayakers, however a Pole in his 40s was carried off Downpatrick Head and carried right into a cave.

RNLI volunteers have been in a position to see the person within the cave however have been unable to achieve him because the swell was too robust.

Coast Guard groups from Killala, Ballyglass and a cliff climbing group from Achill have been additionally charged, however they have been unable to avoid wasting him.

The emergency operation concerned the coast guard, the gardai, the garda sub aqua unit, the hearth brigade, the native civil safety.

Round midnight, the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation, established in 1961, was tasked with aiding within the operation.

4 folks from Clare, together with John Sweeney, Adam Deyeto, Terry Casserley and Brian, and 4 different rescue volunteers from Fermanagh surveyed the scene and realized it was going to be an even bigger operation than initially anticipated.

At 5 a.m., Mr. McGrath was contacted and requested to convey extra materials. He traveled to Downpatrick with Jim Warny, a Belgian nationwide, now residing in Ennis, who’s an professional cave diver who performed a number one function in rescuing 12 boys and their soccer coach from a deep cave from northern Thailand in July 2018.

They arrived at Downpatrick Head round 8:30 a.m., the place they realized {that a} Guardsman diver had approached the ocean cave, however decided that there was no secure methodology to rescue the sufferer.

Cave rescuers got sole duty to rescue the person at round 9am.

“The rock seems loads just like the Cliffs of Moher and is sort of unstable. It was not ideally suited for anchoring. We needed to drill a gap within the rock, put in anchors and zigzag abseil to keep away from rocks breaking free and killing one another.

“It was a fragile operation to descend the 45-meter cliff into the mouth of the café. We lastly bought to the mouth of the cafe and located a horizontal strip of wholesome sandstone. We determined to spin alongside this sandstone till we reached the sufferer.

“Every meter we needed to set up a particular detachable rescue bolt that we might dangle from after which we’d transfer on to the subsequent bolt. We put in 120 bolts in whole, which was a giant operation.

“We began drilling holes at 9 a.m. and continued till 4 p.m.,” he recollects.

In whole there was a crew of about 20 folks and ten participated within the drilling.

Warny, who had a wetsuit on in case the sufferer wanted to get into the water, walked over to the person who was taken by way of rope to a ledge for security round 5.30pm.

Rescuers found that there was a parallel cave and a window connecting the 2 caves, which was organized to permit him to enter by means of the window into one other cave the place it was attainable to stroll round.

Thankfully the person was sporting a wetsuit however had misplaced one among his sea socks. A Coast Guard helicopter took the person to Sligo College Hospital for medical evaluation after being given meals and the water.

The Ballyglass Lifeboat had turned on a lightweight within the sea cave each half-hour to let the sufferer know assist was on the best way.

Mr McGrath, who has been a member of ICRO since 1978, has amassed a wealth of expertise from his time with the Doolin Coast Guard in addition to his work for work at top in technical rescue and industrial search and rescue.

He works extensively for wind farm firms on wind generators, having been concerned in mountain and cave rescue because the mid-seventies.

He has been concerned in a number of main cave rescues, together with discovering 12 college students who bought misplaced in Pollnagollum Cave exterior Lisdoonvarna and needed to be picked up one after the other some 20 years in the past.

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