THE Kinsale RNLI crew said featuring on popular BBC documentary Saving Lives at Sea was a wonderful opportunity for their many benefactors and to see the work they are supporting.
The programme, aired earlier this week, saw Kinsale RNLI save Paddy the horse who became trapped in an oyster trestle in a fast rising tide on Sunday, February 17 last, alongside rescue stories from their colleagues at other stations and beaches around our coasts and inland waters.
Speaking to The Echo, crew member Jonathan Connor who was at the scene with his co-volunteer Michael P Sullivan said: “We received a call from Valentia Coast Guard asking us to assist in the rescue of the trapped horse in the Bandon River. Obviously, calls like this are quite unusual, so we had to step back and look at the bigger picture.
“The tide was coming in so we really had to work quite quickly. The water was halfway up the horse’s stomach when we got to the scene and when we managed to get the horse free, the water was at his neck.”
The animal had gotten into difficulty when it’s owner had taken it out for some exercise and decided to take Paddy into the water. The horse’s leg got entangled in an oyster trestle and it couldn’t move.
It was a fantastic relief for Kinsale RNLI when they finally managed to rescue the horse and it’s moments like these which mean so much to Jonathan.
“I’ve been volunteering with the RNLI for four years and it’s a fantastic gift to be able to rescue someone’s loved one. The owner of the horse said to me after that the horse was more like a member of the family than a pet, so he was so relieved that the rescue mission was successful.”
Jonathan’s dad was a member of the Baltimore RNLI and it is to him that Jonathan credits his love for the charity organisation.
The RNLI is fully comprised of volunteer members and as Johnathan says, “it’s not a job, it’s a vocation.”
Last year alone, RNLI lifeboat crews around Ireland and the UK rescued 9,412 people, saving 211 lives.
Kinsale volunteer Hetty Walsh, who also featured in last night’s episode, said: “It’s great to see the work of RNLI volunteers on TV. We’re so grateful for the support we get from all our friends in Kinsale and further afield.”