The LUN Washed Up On Pouladay Rocks
By Gerry Mc Inerney
Fishing boat skipper, Gerry Concannon from Moveen turned the media glare on Kilkee last week when he stumbled on a capsized boat at Pouladay Rocks, a well known landmark about six miles off the Kilkee coastline.
Gerry, accompanied by Tom Walsh aboard 'The Molly Bawn', were casting nets near the rocks, close to Goleen Bay, when they came upon the overturned craft. About a foot of the keel was showing above water and little did they realise at the time that the vessel belonged to missing American oarsman, Dr. Nenad Belic.
Mr. Concannon tried to right the vessel but when all efforts failed he notified the Valencia Coast Guard. They, in turn, raised the alarm and the Kilkee Community Inshore Rescue Service and The Irish Coast Guard unit at Doolin responded to the may day call.
An extensive search of the vessel was carried out by Martin Haugh, Mike Flynn and Gerry Haugh, all divers with the Kilkee Sub Aqua Club, but they failed to locate the body of Dr. Belic, a 62 year-old retired cardiologist.
However, a number of personal possessions, including a diary, navigational maps, a small fishing rod and packets of dried food, were recovered from the craft.
The capsized boat was towed in by the Kilkee Rescue Boat and it took the crew of Keith Mc Donagh, Kieran de Loughrey and Barry O'Shaughnessy over five hours to bring the 'LUN' to Kilkee bay because of the volume of water it had shipped.
Afterwards, around a quarter of a ton of water had to be pumped from the rowing boat before they were in a position to haul the LUN onto dry land.
While the towing operation was in progress radio contact was maintained with the lnshore Station which, at the time, was manned by John Nolan, Carmel de Loughrey and Kevin Heenan.
Of Yugoslav origin but living in Chicago, Dr. Bedic was carrying out a solo transatlantic voyage from Cape Cod in the US to the Iberian coastline. The trip began on May 11 and, at the time, the father of four described the voyage as his "personal quest"
He had rowed 25,000 miles in the LUN, a rowing boat fitted with three solar panels and designed by his son-in-law. Dr. Belic, an experienced oarsman, spent $50,000 dollars preparing for the ocean voyage.
However, he ran into stormy waters off the Irish coast . The 'LUN' had been missing since Sunday, September 30 when an electronic position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) was activated 215 nautical miles west of Castletownbere in storm force ten conditions.
An extensive search of the area at the time by the UK and Irish Coast Guard, the R.A.F., the Irish Air Corps and private aircraft engaged by Dr. Belic's family failed to locate the vessel. That search was eventually called off on october 2 after which Dr. Belic's family chartered a light aircraft to continue the search, but they too had no success.