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Dublin: 15 °C Friday 19 July, 2019
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'A brave and valiant woman': Tributes to Coast Guard volunteer Caitriona Lucas

The boat was part of a search mission in Clare.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Updated 10.45pm

TRIBUTES HAVE BEEN paid to crew member Caitriona Lucas, who died after a Coast Guard boat overturned off the coast of Clare.

The woman was a volunteer with the Doolin Coast Guard unit, of which her husband Bernard is also a member.

Another female crew member was airlifted to safety and a male colleague was rescued this evening after being stranded in a cave for a number of hours.

Speaking about the incident this evening, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was “greatly saddened to hear the tragic news”.

The heroic work and selflessness of the Irish Coast Guard is well known around our coastline. To learn of the death of Caitriona, and of injury to her colleagues brings home the real dangers our rescue personnel face and this awful news casts a dark shadow over people all over the island.

Equally, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, paid tribute to the woman:

“Caitriona was a member of that extraordinary group of men and women who dedicate their skills, time and passion so that others may be safe on our coastlines.”

“This is an appalling tragedy; the loss of a brave and valiant woman engaged in the most heroic of and unselfish of duties,” Ross continued.

Such remarkable courage and heroism in the service of others is rarely equalled and never surpassed.

Inquiry

The crew were on their rigid inflatable boat (RIB) as part of a search for a man who has been missing since Friday near Kilkee.

Speaking to RTÉ this evening, Declan Geoghan of the Irish Coast Guard said it was too early to speculate about what happened.

“Whether it was a heavy swell or a rogue wave, we’re unsure, but there will be in inquiry”.

Obviously they were thrown into the water and until such time as rescue services got to them, unfortunately we lost a colleague in that rescue mission.

He extended his condolences to the family of the woman who died and to her colleagues.

- With additional reporting by Michelle Hennessy.

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