Pair saved as blow-up boat swept out to sea
THE dangers of cheap inflatable boats were highlighted yesterday after a man and a young girl were swept out to sea.
They were lucky to escape with their lives. Another man who swam after the 6ft plastic inflatable boat had to turn back.
Gerry Gallagher, believed to be in his 60s, and a young relation Laura, aged about eight, from Derry, were paddling the blue inflatable in shallow waters on Trawbreaga Bay at the Isle of Doagh, south west of Malin Head in Co Donegal.
They quickly found themselves about half a mile from shore, driven out into the bay by a strong wind. Neither was wearing a life jacket.
Finbar O'Connor, a retired member of the Coast Guard at Malin Head got a telephone call and hitched his 14ft aluminium boat to his car.
"They were in the middle of the bay with the rising tide. It was such a small object out there in the bay. Luckily, the blue plastic colour showed."
He successfully rescued the stricken boat as emergency services arrived on the scene.
"They were lucky. It could have sank. It could very easily have been a double tragedy," he said.