On Sunday, May 17, Irish farmer John Grant was out tending his sheep near Tullagh Beach, when he heard a cry for help. What he saw half a mile out to sea was the waving arm of a fisherman clinging to a lobster pot. His boat had capsized while he was tending his traps.
Grant contacted his mother, who alerted a local radio station. Soon another local fishing boat was rescuing the lobsterman, who had been in the water for more than an hour. A local volunteer lifeboat crew transferred him and carried him ashore. The fisherman was soon released from the hospital. A member of his rescue team says part of the reason the lobsterman is alive is that he was wearing a life jacket.
Just today, the crew of a Scottish fishing boat the Sylvia Bowers found a 75-year-old fisherman and his 35-year-old grandson 46 miles off the Scottish coast after two days adrift in their 16-foot lobster boat, just hours after the search was called off. The pair had tried their best to navigate and conserve fuel in thick fog, but were lost when their compass stopped working.
Last Thursday, May 15, the U.S. Coast Guard coordinated an operation during which the crew of a Spanish longliner rescued three French sailors about 1,200 miles off of Cape Cod. (Watch the video below.)
Now there’s an ongoing U.S. Coast Guard search for British sailors whose boat began taking on water about 620 miles off of Cape Cod last Thursday. The sailors are reported missing, but their families say they were well prepared for an emergency and are very likely to have climbed aboard a life raft. A Maersk containership spotted an upturned hull that is believed to be that of the Cheeki Rafiki, and the captain of a private catamaran taking part in the search has reported spotting more debris. Meanwhile, a Royal Air Force Hercules plane is conducting a search from the air.
These at-sea searches and rescues show how vast and unforgiving the oceans are, and yet how closely interconnected are all those who ply the seas — and even those who work near the water.
Without the help of good Samaritans, many more lives would be lost to the sea.
We hope for the safe recovery of the missing sailors and are thankful to those who extend a hand to help their fellow mariners.