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CHC Ireland crew featured on BBC’s Close Calls: On Camera

Wednesday, June 6, 2018


One of CHC Ireland’s challenging rescues from last July has been recognized in a recent BBC program, Close Calls. The program featured the rescue of two transatlantic rowers who got into difficulty about 170 nautical miles off the Irish coast when their boat overturned. 

The two rowers were rescued about 170 nautical miles from the Irish coast, after rowing across the Atlantic from Canada in a world record attempt. Brian Conville, a 25-year-old from Dublin and 20-year-old Canadian Joseph Gagnon, were on the final stage of their journey when their boat capsized. The men spent hours on their upturned boat in heavy seas awaiting rescue. They had set off from St. Johns, Newfoundland, on 13 June, aiming to become the youngest pair to complete the voyage from Canada to Ireland.

The rowers’ emergency beacon transmitted a signal, resulting in the callout for the rescue helicopter. The beacon had become separated from the rowers and their boat, presenting an added challenge, requiring the helicopter crew to carry out a visual search, with assistance from an Irish Air Corps CASA aircraft that provided top cover. Due to the distance offshore, the crew had a very limited amount of time to conduct their search, but were eventually able to locate the rowers and effect a challenging rescue before transporting them to a hospital where they fully recovered from their ordeal.

The crew involved in the rescue, including Captain Martyn Rayner, Co-Pilot Stephen Donoghue, Winchman Tommy Gannon, and the entire team at Waterford, are a credit to CHC and to our customer the Irish Coast Guard. 

For certain audiences, the program is available for streaming on the BBC iPlayer, and may also be available via YouTube.