Saturday 16 December 2017

Fisherman dies after fumes poisoning

The boat was in the fishing port of Killybegs for routine maintenance work to its engines
The boat was in the fishing port of Killybegs for routine maintenance work to its engines

A Fisherman who died when he was overcome by poisonous fumes on board his trawler was "an absolute gentleman" friends said last night.

James Joyce (27), from Galway, died at Letterkenny General Hospital after an industrial accident on board his uncle's fishing boat in Killybegs, Co Donegal.


The Joyce family, from Inis Mor on the Aran Islands, are said to be devastated by the loss.

It's understood that chemicals had been used on board the vessel on Monday morning in order to clean a holding area for fish.

Mr Joyce had gone below deck and was immediately overcome by fumes.

A 46-year-old Filipino crew member raised the alarm before going to help, but he also lost consciousness. He is still in a critical but stable condition at Letterkenny Hospital and is in an induced coma.

Fire crews wearing specialist breathing equipment had to be called in to take the men out of the Galway-registered trawler Oilean an Oir.

Mr Joyce's death is being mourned among the fishing communities of the Aran Islands and Killybegs.

"James was an absolute gentleman," said a neighbour on Inis Mor. "His father was a fisherman and it's part of who we all are. We've lost friends at sea before, but nothing like this has ever happened.

Mr Joyce's father Michael, a retired fisherman, and mother Joan, a retired nurse, were being comforted by friends and relatives.

In Killybegs, local Independent councillor Niamh Kennedy, who visited the accident scene, said people there are shocked.

"All our thoughts are with the Joyce family in Galway," she said.

The Health and Safety Authority and the Marine Accident Investigation Board are conducting investigations.

Gardai are also investigating the death on behalf of the coroner's office.

A full emergency plan was activated by the emergency services when the alarm was raised, with gardai, ambulance crews and fire officers racing to the scene.

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