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Interim report into death of Coast Guard volunteer Caitríona Lucas published

Caitríona Lucas died on 12 September last year just off Kilkee, Co Clare.

Image: Caitriona Lucas/Facebook

THE MARINE CASUALTY Investigation Board (MCIB) has published its interim report into the death of Coast Guard volunteer Caitríona Lucas last year.

On 12 September 2016, the 41-year-old became the first ever Irish Coast Guard volunteer to die on active service after the boat she was travelling in capsized during a search for a missing person.

The MCIB report notes that the Irish Coast Guard station at Kilkee was tasked by the marine sub rescue centre at Valentia to provide search and rescue volunteers at the cliffs to the southwest of the town.

“Reports indicated that a missing person may have fallen off the cliffs,” the report said.

It said that a number of volunteers were searching a cove to the east of Foohagh Point, when the Delta rigid inflatable boat (Rib) they were travelling in capsized and threw three crew members into the water.

One of the crew was rescued by a Rib operated by An Garda Síochana, while another was recovered by a search and rescue helicopter.

“The third crewmember who was a volunteer from the Doolin Coast Guard Station was also recovered by a SAR rescue helicopter, but later died,” the report said.

The missing person was later found by Civil Defence units in nearby Intrinsic Bay.

The MCIB said that investigations are ongoing.

“She was more than my wife, she was my best friend”

Caitriona Lucas funeral Members of the Coast Guard at the funeral of Caitríona Lucas. Source: Niall Carson/PA Images

Numerous tributes were paid to Caitríona Lucas following her death, with President Michael D Higgins among those sending condolences to her young family.

Speaking on RTE’s Today with Seán O’Rourke, her husband Bernard Lucas paid tribute to his wife, praising her selfless commitment to helping her community.

He told the programme: “Every time the pager went, Caitríona was gone. She used to work for the library service in Clare… If she was working on her own, she couldn’t go. If it was a protracted search, she would go in the morning before work. If she was working where there was cover from her colleagues, she would go.”

The couple had almost 30 years of experience between them as volunteers.

“We grew up together,” he said. “She was more than my wife, she was my best friend.”

Read: Coast Guard volunteer Caitríona Lucas who died on duty awarded posthumous degree

Read: ‘It’s what we do’ – Husband of Coast Guard volunteer back on the water after her death

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Sean Murray

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