Dangerous Donegal cliff rescue to feature on tonight's Late Late Show

Walker saved by 400m rope descent at Slieve League

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Staff Reporter

Dangerous Donegal cliff rescue to feature on Late Late Show

Cormac Nolan stranded 400 metres down from the top of Slieve league.

A dangerous cliff rescue carried out by members of a Donegal coast guard team that probably saved the life of a walker will be recalled on tonight’s Late Late Show on RTÉ One.

The rescue of the hill walker, who had slipped 400 metres down cliffs at Slieve League on New Year’s Day 2013, was carried out by Killybegs Coast Guard.
As weather conditions made an airlift of the patient impossible, members of the coast guard team had to abseil down the 400 metres to rescue the man who was trapped on a ledge in a rescue that took nine hours to carry out.
Tonight’s Late Late Show will feature an interview with Bernard Lucas, husband of coastguard volunteer, Caitríona Lucas, who tragically died during a rescue mission 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. Her family will be in studio to talk to host Ryan Tubridy about the devastating impact of her death and to pay tribute to her.
The programme will will be celebrating the work of the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI, hearing from members hailing from all around the country and some of the people who owe their lives to their tireless efforts.
Shane McCrudden, deputy officer in charge of the Killybegs Coast Guard, will appear on the show.The walker rescued from Slieve League that day, Cormac Nolan from Carlow, later said it was a miracle he survived.
He had slipped and slid 400 metres, unable to stop his descent until he came to rest on a ledge.
The coast guard team were tasked to the incident at 1pm after the caller raised the alarm on one of two mobile phones he had with him.
It being a holiday, the rescue had the benefit of all 24 members of the coast guard team.
After arriving at the car park at the cliffs, they had to carry 3.5 tonnes of equipment to the top of Slieve League, which took over an hour. Two climbers abseiled down to the level of Mr Nolan, who was 28 years old at the time, only to find they were 150 feet to the left of where he was stranded.
The decision was made for them to ascend and a new rope rig be established so climbers could descend to the casualty.
It took three hours for the climbers to ascend, the old rig to be taken down and a new one set up before two fresh climbers were able to descend.
Light was supplied to the rescue effort by the Sligo 118 Coast Guard helicopter and the Arranmore RNLI all-weather lifeboat.
The team were in touch during the rescue with the casualty on his work phone. That phone probably saved his life, Shane McCrudden told the Donegal Democrat. “He had a work phone which was an old Nokia and his personal phone which was a smart phone. The smartphone had lost power and that Nokia phone probably saved his life.”
A doctor who was walking the cliffs presented himself to the team and waited as the rescue was carried out to give first aid.
When the climbers got to Mr Nolan it was assessed he was a walking casualty suffering from mild hypothermia.
It took an hour to take the causality up attached to a climber, while the other climber waited on the rope.
By the time the second climber reached the top, it was 10pm.
The Killybegs Coast Guard team were awarded the Michael Heffernan Bronze Medal for Marine Gallantry for the rescue.