The rescue operation got underway after the trawler hit rocks in the Irish Sea and began taking on water in the early hours of the morning

Five fishermen have been rescued from the Irish Sea after their trawler got into difficulties off Balbriggan at just after 5am on 30 January, 2017.

The vessel started sinking after hitting rocks just south of the town’s harbour. The boat had been drifting following engine failure.

The Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116, along with three RNLI lifeboats from Howth, Skerries and Clogherhead and the Skerries Coast Guard unit were all scrambled to the scene.

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Despite using pumps, the RNLI volunteer crews were unable to prevent the trawler from sinking.

The crew were transferred to the Howth RNLI lifeboat and taken to safety.

In a statement, the Irish Coast Guard said: “Five crew members have been rescued from a fishing vessel that got into difficulties off Balbriggan shortly after 5.15 this morning.”

“The Dublin based Coast Guard helicopter, RNLI units from Skerries, Howth and Clogherhead and Skerries Coast Guard unit all participated in an operation coordinated by the Coast Guard Marine Rescue Coordination Centre in Dublin,” continued the statement.

“Despite efforts to avert onboard flooding, using pumps supplied by the Coast Guard and RNLI the vessel sunk shortly after 8 am.”

“The crew despite the ordeal are reported to be in good spirits,” concluded the statement.