Tuesday 27 September 2016

More than 100 Defence Forces colleagues help search for soldier (28) missing off popular Irish beach

Louise Kelly & Greg Harkin

Published 24/08/2016 | 07:44

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Stock picture

An air and sea search got underway at first light this morning for a swimmer who got into diffficulty off the Irish coast.

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The 28-year-old soldier was at Tullan Strand in Bundoran with a group of four other colleagues when the incident occurred.

The missing man is based at Custume Barracks in Athlone and had been attending a course earlier on Tuesday at Finner Camp, outside Ballyshannon.

More than 100 members of the Defence Forces have joined in the search for the missing soldier.

An emergency call was made to the Malin Head Coast Guard just before 6pm yesterday evening.

Minutes later, a volunteer crew from Bundoran RNLI had a lifeboat in the water and headed to the scene.

Members of the shore crew went to the cliffs to assist the operation on land.

It is understood that the other four swimmers were able to make their own way to shore with the help of local surfers.

Credit: Google Maps
Credit: Google Maps

Two of the swimmers were treated for intake of water and were taken to Sligo University Hospital for treatment.

Despite an extensive search, the missing swimmer was not found and the search began again this morning.

A spokesperson from Malin Head Coastguard told independent.ie that a helicopter and lifeboat were at the scene at Killybegs this morning.

The RNLI and Coast Guard are encountering difficult sea conditions in the search which is being assisted by the Coast Guards 118 rescues helicopter.

A Defence Forces spokesman said "Three members of the Defence Forces encountered difficulties while swimming in the Bundoran area of Donegal.

"Two of the Defence Forces members were rescued, unfortunately, one is still missing and his next of kin are being assisted by our personnel support services.

"The missing Defence Forces member was in Finner Camp attending a course but is normally based in Custume Barracks, Athlone.

"More than 100 Defence Forces colleagues are assisting with search efforts in Bundoran today.

"Our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of the missing man."

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