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Heroes of the Helen Blake

Power, Brendan
One of the greatest losses ever suffered by the RNLI in Ireland. In February 1914 the Fethard on Sea lifeboat, Helen Blake, went to the rescue of the Mexico, a Norwegian schooner that had gone aground on rocks surrounding the Keeragh Islands, off the coast of County Wexford. In a 35 foot rowing boat the crew fought their way through three miles of violent seas, during the worst storm for fifty years, to reach the ship. Within minutes they were swamped by a freak wave and nine men lost their lives. The survivors reached the comparative safety of the island and continued with their errand of mercy, bringing the crew of the Mexico safely off the wreck. Rescued and rescuers were then stranded together for three days without food, water or shelter before being rescued by the joint efforts of three lifeboats and a steam tug.