WATCH: Three men rescued off Wexford coast during Storm Ophelia

The crew had unsuccessfully tried to enter a harbour for hours

WATCH: Three men rescued off Wexford coast during Storm Ophelia

Image: RNLI

Three men have been rescued off the coast of Wexford after getting into difficulty during Storm Ophelia.

The volunteer lifeboat crew with Rosslare RNLI was launched earlier after the men, onboard a 10m yacht, issued a Mayday.

The crew had been trying to get to safety since the early hours and had attempted to gain entry to a few harbours - but were pushed back by winds and tides.

They issued the Mayday 10 miles offshore.

Rosslare Harbour lifeboat, under the command of Coxswain Eamon O’Rourke, launched with six volunteer crew and made the journey out to help the men.

RNSLI say conditions were extremely challenging - with force nine winds with a six metre sea swell.

The lifeboat was manoureved alongside the yacht to establish a tow.

The RNLI crew say they made slow progress, but brought all three men safely ashore after 2.00pm at Rosslare Harbour.

Dave Maloney, Rosslare RNLI Lifeboat operations manager, said: "I am extremely proud of our crew.

"When the pagers went off this morning, as the storm was beginning to take hold, we had seven lifeboat crew down immediately to the station with a further six in reserve.

"Conditions were very unpleasant out there and we needed to get those three men to safety as quickly as possible.

"The crew of the yacht had been trying to come ashore since the early hours but were pushed back and ultimately unsuccessful.

"When the lifeboat crew reached them they were side on to the weather, taking a ferocious pounding and in danger of getting overwhelmed.

"I think if another hour had passed this story may not have had such a successful outcome."