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Boat blaze victim gave look of 'thank you' before drowning

The Coroner’s Court finds that three men, who died when a motor cruiser caught fire last August, died accidentally.

The three men died in August 2010 when their boat caught fire in Bantry.
The three men died in August 2010 when their boat caught fire in Bantry.

THE SURVIVOR OF a fire on a boat which claimed the lives of all three of his fellow passengers has told a coroner’s court how one of the deceased gave him a look that said ‘thank you’ before rolling over and drowning.

RTÉ News reports that Ed Dziato, the sole survivor of the accident in Bantry Bay last summer, had tried to keep Richard Harmon afloat by putting his hand under Harmon’s back, but had been unable to stop him from falling below the water.

Bantry Coroner’s Court, where the inquest into the deaths was taking place, returned a verdict of accidental death in the cases of Harmon, 69, and fellow passengers Wolfgang Schmidt,70, and Wolfgang Schroder, 62.

The four men – all of whom had moved to the area on retirement – had been angling in Adrigole Harbour for the day, but none had been wearing lifejackets when one noticed that the boat was beginning to take on water.

Having activated three pumps to clear it, they then smelt smoke and noticed the insulation melting and catching fire.

Ultimately the men, unable to stand the intense heat, had to jump into the water – but could not get hold of the lifejackets first, as they were in an inaccessible area of the boat.

Read the full details on RTÉ.ie >

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Gavan Reilly

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