Memories, 1964: Limerick man tells of cruise ship rescue

A DRAMATIC account of the rescue efforts at the fire-stricken cruise ship Lakonia has been given exclusively to the Limerick Leader by the radio officer aboard the MV Montcalm, one of the first ships on the scene.

A DRAMATIC account of the rescue efforts at the fire-stricken cruise ship Lakonia has been given exclusively to the Limerick Leader by the radio officer aboard the MV Montcalm, one of the first ships on the scene.

He is Patrick Gleeson, 26, of Castle Barracks, Limerick, who was 60 hours on duty sending out messages for help and left completely exhausted. He describes the rescue as “the most amazing I have ever experienced”.

Over 120 perished when the vessel caught fire and sank north of Madeira on December 23.

Mr Gleeson, who is four years at sea, said it had all started on the morning of December 24 when he picked up an SOS signal while cruising to Casablanca.

“When we arrived at the scene there was complete and utter disaster everywhere.

“Women 80 years old were still in dressed in their party clothes which was going on at the time the fire broke out. Children were screaming for their mothers and fathers all over the place,” he said.