Inquiry launched as junior regatta ends with rescue
John Downes, Kitty Holland & Lorna Siggins
The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) is to conduct an inquiry after a full-scale emergency plan was launched in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin yesterday when more than 100 participants in a junior regatta got into difficulty during a race.
The independent statutory body normally only investigates if there has been a fatality, serious injury or pollution.
The MCIB had earlier said it would not be initiating an inquiry. However, a spokeswoman confirmed last night that it would be investigating all aspects of the incident.
Separately, it also emerged last night that the Irish Coast Guard has contacted the Irish Sailing Association to express its concern about the decision to proceed with the event despite forecasts of unfavourable weather.
A spokesman for the Coast Guard confirmed that it had done so following a similar incident which occurred at Greystones sailing club on Wednesday, and again following yesterday's incident.
The incident, which saw a total of 16 people, including one adult, brought to hospitals across the city, happened at approximately 2pm during the second race of the day.
None of the injuries were life-threatening and most of those brought to hospital were expected to be discharged last night.
In a statement, the organisers of the Royal St George Yacht Club junior regatta said a "sudden squall from the south" hit the fleet, causing many boats to capsize.
Race organiser Patrick Blaney said most of the competing sailors came ashore unassisted and were supervised by the rescue fleet. The others were taken into rescue boats and ferried ashore, he said.
"There were 115 boats racing with 141 competitors aboard and there were 22 rescue boats and three support yachts," he said.
"All of the sailors have, for several years, participated in club training courses which are approved by the Irish Sailing Association and they have been trained to cope with these conditions."
It emerged yesterday that Met Éireann first issued a small craft warning at 4am, which was reissued at noon.
President McAleese yesterday led the tributes to the response of the emergency services and all those involved, who she said had averted a "potential major tragedy".
© 2007 The Irish Times
Note the Irish National Sailing School, also situated in Dun Laoghaire, ca;;ed all their boats in from the water @ 11.30am.