Tuesday 25 September 2018

Friends who drowned off Donegal had to be rescued a month ago

The pier at Teelin, from which the two men set out. They died in a boating accident and their bodies were recovered yesterday
The pier at Teelin, from which the two men set out. They died in a boating accident and their bodies were recovered yesterday

Two friends died in a boating accident only weeks after they were rescued by the coast guard in the same area.

The bodies of the two men were recovered yesterday following a search off Glencolmcille in west Co Donegal.

It is understood they got into difficulty fishing in "notorious" waters and drowned.

One of the men was last night named locally as Rimantis Barauskas (56), who lived in Oldcastle, Co Meath. It is understood he was a regular visitor to Donegal.

His 40-year-old companion lived in Co Longford. The two men, both Lithuanian nationals, sailed from Teelin Pier on Saturday.


The alarm was raised by locals after the two men did not return.

Mr Barauskas' body was discovered washed up on the rocks at Malinbeg at about 10.30am yesterday.

The second man's body was later spotted at sea by Irish Coast Guard rescue helicopter R118 from Sligo and recovered from the water by the crew of Bundoran lifeboat.

It has emerged that the friends were involved in a rescue operation on the same five-metre rigid inflatable boat (RIB) in the same area only four weeks ago.

A source told the Herald they ran out of fuel near Raithlin O'Birne Island, just off Malinbeg, a month ago.

"The tail of the boat was hitting the island and they were taken back to shore. They had run out of fuel," the source said.

It is understood Mr Barauskas was not wearing a lifejacket but there was a life jacket on the second body.

There were also two inflatable jackets on the boat.

The bodies were taken to the morgue at Letterkenny University Hospital where a post-mortem examination will be carried out today.

A Malin Head Coast Guard spokesman said: "Gardai called us this morning at 11am. A body was found on the shoreline by a farmer. His land runs down to the shore.

"But it was inaccessible, so the gardai requested the coast guard recover the body.

"We tasked Killybegs Coast Guard and after that we got a call from the boat owner in Teelin saying they left after lunch on Saturday and their car was still parked at Teelin Pier but there was no sign of the boat.

"We commenced a search with rescue helicopter 118 from Sligo, Arranmore lifeboat, Bunbeg Coast Guard and Bundoran lifeboat.

"With the helicopter, it fairly quickly spotted the second body.

"Bundoran lifeboat recovered the body and took it back to Teelin and handed it over to gardai."

Glencolmcille parish chairman Brendan Byrne said: "We offer our deepest sympathy to the grieving families.

"It's the most tragic thing we experience in our community.

"However, we must remind people to be careful on the seas in areas they are not familiar with.

"The coastline off Malinbeg and Glencolmcille and around Raithlin O'Birne Island is very dangerous.

"The waters are treacherous. I'm not a seafarer, but those that know the sea know there are various currents."

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