Five Saved as Boat Capsizes

Sligo Weekender, Tuesday, August 19, 2003

A student and a solicitor rescued five people from one of the most treacherous channels of water in Ireland, at Rosses Point.
The channel, Sruth na Maoile, located between Oyster Island and Coney Island in Sligo bay, has an extremely strong current and was the scene of a number of boating accidents over the years.
On this occasion everyone on board the boat, including three young children, were rescued by Rosses Point native Daryl Ewing and Sligo solicitor Joe Carter.
Both men were fishing at Sruth Na Maoile in separate boats when the accident happened.
The anchor of a boat belonging to another Point resident, Redmond Gillen, was snagged by the strong current, turning the boat over and throwing the five passengers, Mr Gillen and his young son and Strandhill resident Seamie McGowan and his two children into the water.
While Mr Gillen and the two youngest children, boys aged 9 and 8 held on to the upturned boat, Seamie McGowan and his daughter, aged 12, drifted away from the boat.
Thinking quickly, Daryl Ewing untied his anchor and raced for the two drifting in the direction of the Sligo channel.
“I was anchored as well, but I untied the anchor and tied a life jacket on to the rope. It was quicker than pulling up the anchor.
“I went to get the two that drifted away from the boat, a girl who couldn’t swim and a man with a bad cut on his finger. It was caught under the anchor rope.
“By the time I got them into the boat the other three were pulled in.
“Mine was the only boat strong enough to tow (the upturned) boat to Oyster Island. I beached the boat on Oyster and then I went to Coney.”
Mr Ewing described the stretch of water as ‘treacherous’.
“There’s rocks on the left (from the Rosses Point side) and a beach on the right with the channel in the middle. The tide rushes in between the two islands. It’s a strong current. I think it’s the strongest in Ireland.”
At the same time that Daryl Ewing was rescuing the two that had drifted away from the boat, solicitor Joe Carter brought his boat alongside the stricken vessel and rescued the three left clinging to it.
All five people rescued were brought to Coney Island, where they were calmed down and dried off. The only injury sustained was to Mr McGowan, who had to receive stitches for a finger injury.
He was taken to the RNLI Lifeboat Station on Rosses Point where his injury was dressed before being rushed to Sligo General Hospital.
The boat was extensively damaged by the freak accident.