One man has died and nine others have been rescued after their boat capsized off the coast of west Cork. The ten, who are believed to be Swiss, were travelling from Schull to Coney Island when their boat got into difficulty after developing engine trouble in the early hours of this morning.
The boat drifted and then capsized at 1.45am less than a mile from the Cork coast, throwing all ten men into the water. One man managed to swim to Long Island and alerted one of the only two people living on the island. He then called the coast guard from the islander's house.
The Coast Guard received the call at 2am and alerted all units, including the Coast Guard helicopter based at Shannon, and lifeboats from Baltimore and Castletownbere. All volunteer coast guard units were also contacted.
By the time the lifeboats arrived at Long Island, all nine men had been washed ashore.
They had been clinging onto the capsized boat. The tide and gale force winds had pushed them towards the island.
One man was found dead on the beach. The other nine men took shelter in a house where the coast guard provided them with emergency warm clothing. The Baltimore life boat then brought them back to the mainland where they were taken to Bantry General Hospital. They have since been discharged.
The men involved are all in their 50s and 60s and were travelling to Coney Island for a winter holiday. The weather conditions last night have been described as atrocious, with gales of force 8 or 9 and high swells. The Coast Guard and rescue services in West Cork say it is a miracle that more men did not perish.