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Five Men Feared Drowned in Boating Disaster near Tarbert | Limerick Gazette Archives

Five Men Feared Drowned in Boating Disaster near Tarbert

A boating disaster has occurred in Tarbert, sparking fears that the captain, mate, chief engineer, and two seamen of the Falmouth tug Columbia have drowned. The boat they were using to reach their vessel has washed ashore approximately three miles from Kilrush in a capsized state, with no sign of its occupants.

On Tuesday evening, the Columbia was navigating its way down the Shannon from Limerick. However, due to a heavy gale, the crew sought refuge in Tarbert. The captain and the other missing men went ashore to wire for instructions. After receiving updates, they attempted to return to their vessel at 8 o’clock, but have not been seen since then.

Later, the tug signalled for assistance from the shore, prompting the pier-master and a pilot to launch a rescue boat. The pilot boarded the Columbia and successfully guided her to the pier. A thorough search was conducted for the missing boat and its passengers, yielding only the capsized boat.

The identities of the five missing men are as follows: Charles Couves, captain of the Columbia from Gravesend, survived by his wife and three children; Joseph Turner, the married mate from Perth; Charles Harcome, the chief engineer from an unknown location; Harry Cox, a single man from Gravesend; and William Hughes from Poplar.

This tragic boating disaster has left families of the crew members distraught and awaiting further news regarding their loved ones. The incident highlights the inherent dangers faced by those working in maritime industries, especially during treacherous weather conditions. Search and rescue efforts continue, which will hopefully bring solace to the affected families and raise awareness about the need for increased safety measures for seafarers.

The maritime community in and around Tarbert has been severely shaken by the disaster, leading to calls for improved communication and safety protocols. The fact that the missing boat and crew sailed out in challenging weather conditions and failed to send a distress signal raises questions about the adequacy of their equipment and preparedness.

As authorities continue their efforts to uncover the circumstances surrounding the incident, it is crucial that lessons are learned from this tragedy. Enhanced training, the implementation of safety procedures, and swiftly adopting modernized communication technologies will be needed to increase the likelihood of preventing such incidents in the future.

Until then, all those touched by the accident will be grieving and hoping for the safe return of the remaining crew members. Friends and family members are doing everything they can – from searching the shoreline to taking to social media – in hopes of finding information that might reunite them with their loved ones.

As the boating disaster continues to unfold, the people of Tarbert, Kilrush, and the wider maritime community come together to support the affected families and search for answers. Ultimately, the incident serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifice, courage, and comradery of those who brave the open seas and the importance of ensuring their safety and well-being in the future.

Morning Leader – Thursday 18 December 1902