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Fishermen who drowned off Co Kerry pier died from 'prolonged period in cold water'

The bodies of three Latvian men were recovered off the Coonanna Pier on 30 September 2018.

Coonanna, Co Kerry
Coonanna, Co Kerry
Image: Google Street View

THREE LATVIAN FISHERMEN who drowned in the sea off the Coonanna Pier in Kerry last September died from “a prolonged period in cold water”, according to a report. 

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board report into the deaths of the three men was published yesterday. 

The bodies of the men were recovered from a sunken boat on 30 September 2018. 

One man was in his 50s while the other two were in their 30s. 

Local gardaí and emergency services had been alerted to a sunken boat off Coonanna Pier that evening. 

Valentia Lifeboat, helicopter R115 and Iveragh Coast Guard Unit were tasked to the scene. Gardaí also attended the scene. 

R115 transferred one body from the water to the shore. The other two bodies were lifted and transferred to Kerry Airport before being taken to Kerry University Hospital. 

The report has now concluded that the vessel “was not suitable for the conditions and voyage on the day”. 

“The crew had not planned the voyage sufficiently and were not prepared for an emergency,” the report said in its conclusions. 

It found that the three fatalities occurred as a result of “a prolonged period in cold water as there was no means of indicating distress”. 

“It is likely that consumption of alcohol by two of the three crew resulted in diminished ability to cope with the prevailing conditions and impaired performance in addressing an emergency,” the report also concluded.

The report also noted that “mobile phones are not reliable as a means of contacting the emergency services” and that a marine VHF radio should be used instead. However, it found that the vessel was not equipped with such a radio. 

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