A Donegal coast guard volunteer who took part in a dangerous nine-hour cliff rescue at Slieve League has said the coast guard continues to put into practice what it learnt from the operation four years ago.
Shane McCrudden, deputy officer in charge of Killybegs Coast Guard station, was speaking on the Late Late Show last night in a special tribute to Irish Coast Guard and RNLI volunteers.
The programme featured an emotional interview with Bernard Lucas, husband of coast guard volunteer Caitríona Lucas (41) who died during a rescue mission in Co Clare in September last year.
The mother-of-two was the first member of the Irish Coast Guard to lose their life during a rescue mission.
Mr Lucas, who was joined by his son Ben, spoke of Caitríona’s love of helping others. “Caitríona was a marvellous person, very bubbly. Full of life - loved helping others and being involved in different projects.”
Mr Lucas, who is also a coast guard volunteer, told how he went back to the coast guard a week after his wife’s death. “It’s what we do and it's what Caitríona did and loved. I suppose I get comfort from it.”
Shane McCrudden was among a number of coast guard and lifeboat volunteers who featured on the programme.
He was one of the 24 members of the Killybegs Coast Guard that took part of the rescue of 28-year-old Cormac Nolan from Carlow on New Year’s Day 2013.
As weather conditions made an airlift impossible, members of the coast guard team had to abseil down the 400 metres to the man who was trapped on a ledge in a rescue that took nine hours to carry out.
Speaking on the programme, Shane outlined the operation which involved two descents by two pairs of climbers to the stranded walker who was 400 metres from the top of the cliff.
“It was a massive multi agency resource that we have learned so much from and every rescue from then on there is parts of it we will use. But it was a good outcome. He was a good rescue for us.”
Shane also told Ryan told host Ryan Tubridy how much he enjoys being involved in the coast guard.
“For me it's an addiction... just being in there, being in jobs, call outs, giving back to the community. I just love being in there. There is administration work, the whole climbing aspect of it in terms of the climbing rescue system, the boating operations, the searching operations - there’s an endless amount of jobs there.”