30/01/2002

Man dies and two hospitalised in fishing tragedy

A 22-year-old man has died in Daisy Hill Hospital, Newry, after a fishing boat - the Kilkeel based Charisma - capsized and sank today in Rostrevor Bay, Carlingford Lough.

The man has been named locally as Mr Mark Spears, from the Kilkeel/Rostrevor area.

Two other men, named as Mr Trainor and Mr Kearney, are still being treated in the hospital, though one had to be resuscitated by emergency services at the scene. He is currently in a critical condition, while the other is believed to be stable.

The two survivors were picked up early this afternoon by another fishing boat, while the Coast Guard, police divers, a Royal Navy patrol vessel and an RAF helicopter sped to the scene.

Mr Spears was retrieved from the water some time later by these emergency services and rushed to Daisy Hill Hospital, where he later died.

Local Independent Councillor Anthony Williamson was in the area at the time of the tragedy, and was quickly on the scene, where he was able to offer some comfort to Mr Spears devastated mother.

He said: "I didn't know the young man who has died, personally but I do know the family. These tragic events have cast a black pall over Rostrevor and Kilkeel, especially as the boat sank so close to land."

Mr Williamson also praised the "speedy action" of the emergency services and local fishermen in reaching the scene, maintaining that without their professionalism the tragedy could have seen the loss of all three lives.

All the men are believed to be from the local area.

(GB)

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