‘Those guys are heroes’ - Offshore worker gets to say final farewell to father after heroic efforts

Pat O'Leary who has died aged 84. His son Mike was able to be by his side in hospital following a hu

Pat O'Leary who has died aged 84. His son Mike was able to be by his side in hospital following a huge effort to get him there in time. Photo: supplied by Mike O'Leary - Credit: supplied by Mike O'Leary

It was call that Mike O’Leary never wanted to hear - his father was on life support after suffering a stroke at his Norfolk village home.

The MSV Seawell.Picture: Helix Well Ops.

The MSV Seawell.Picture: Helix Well Ops. - Credit: Archant

But for Mr O’Leary there was also an added complication in getting to see his seriously ill father, Pat, as he was working on a diving support vessel 75 miles out from Great Yarmouth.

After hearing about his father’s plight at the intensive care unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Mr O’Leary’s bosses at Helix Well Ops made sure he could get to see him.

At first the Edinburgh-based company tried to get a helicopter to lift 61-year Mr O’Leary from the 9,000 tonne MSV Seawell to Norwich but the Beast from the East put paid to that plan.

Instead the MSV Seawell was told to head straight to Great Yarmouth, where the crew tried to get a rib into the rolling water to shoot Mr O’Leary to the quayside. But the conditions were appalling

Mr O’Leary, who lives in Portsmouth and who had been a Royal Navy clearance and explosives removal diver, said: “The rib was going to be a bit tricky. But Yarmouth pilots said they were coming to get me, despite the wild conditions, and with only a few squeaky bum moments they got me off and onto dry land.

“Those guys are heroes.”

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Seawell’s master had arranged for a taxi to be waiting and Mr O’Leary was quickly at his father’s side.

He died the next day on Saturday, March 17 at the age of 84 with his three children and two grandchildren by his side.

Hs son said: “He slipped away about half past two on Saturday afternoon.

“I was so proud to have been there and to hold his hand at the end. I can’t thank enough everyone who made that possible for me. It’s the human side of the oil industry and the port fully on view. “

Pat O’Leary lived in Belton and was a well-known ‘oilfield’ figure in Great Yarmouth.

He had a hand in hundreds of construction projects for Norwell, AMEC, and SLP among others in Yarmouth and many global locations.