County Clare: Woman dies after coastguard boat overturns near cliffs

The search involved a helicopter crew from Shannon Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption The search involved a helicopter crew from Shannon

A member of the Irish Coast Guard has died after a vessel overturned off the County Clare coast in the Republic of Ireland.

She has been named as Caitriona Lucas, a mother of two in her early 40s.

She was one of three crew members on board a rigid inflatable boat which flipped over during a search for a man near cliffs at Kilkee.

Another woman was rescued and airlifted to hospital. A man stranded in a cave has now been airlifted to safety.

Their injuries are not life threatening, the Irish Coast Guard said.

'Unselfish of duties'

The three crew members were part of the Doolin Coast Guard, a voluntary unit of which Mrs Lucas' husband Bernard is also a member.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: "To learn of the death of Caitriona, and of injury to her colleagues brings home the real dangers our rescue personnel face and this awful news casts a dark shadow over people all over the island."

Irish Transport Minister Shane Ross offered his "deepest sympathies" to Mrs Lucas' family and friends.

"This is an appalling tragedy; the loss of a brave and valiant woman engaged in the most heroic of and unselfish of duties."

Tributes have been posted on social media from RNLI crews across the UK.

Image copyright RNLI

Kilkeel RNLI posted this tribute on its Facebook page: "Difficult to put words to this but our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of volunteer Coastguard Caitriona Lucas who gave her all in a rescue attempt."

Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption The incident happened on Monday afternoon

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