Thursday 23 May 2019

Coast Guard warns of deadly tides as girl (6) rescued after being swept into the sea

Irish Coast Guard helicopter. Stock picture
Irish Coast Guard helicopter. Stock picture

Rebecca Lumley

Coast Guards at Malin Head have advised the public to be aware of changing tides, following a string of incidents that occurred off the Donegal Coast yesterday afternoon.

A response helicopter rescued a six-year-old girl from the sea at Gaoth Dobhair around 4pm. According to responders, the girl had been lying on an inflatable and had become stranded.

Rescue helicopter R118 from Sligo brought her back to shore, where she was checked by paramedics and found to be unharmed.

The Árainn Mhór lifeboat as well as the local unit from An Bun Beag also attended the scene.

A short time a kayaker got into difficulty a mile off the beach at Gaoth Dobhair. Later two kayakers required assistance off the coast of Inis Meáin.

No one was injured in any of the incidents.

According to Malin Head Coast Guard, a combination of tidal changes and high winds may have been to blame for the string of incidents, all of which occurred “roughly around the same time.”

“It was the turn of the tide and the winds were northeasterly. The winds basically picked up and were blowing off the land and the tide then was actually flooding in as well.

"So it was this combination, as well as the rip currents.”

They advised vigilance when swimming in coastal areas to avoid getting into difficulty.

“We would advise everybody to be aware of the tides and the wind conditions, as well as those inflatable beds, not to take them into the sea. What happens is that young children will actually lie on those in the nice weather and they won’t realise it, but they’ll actually drift out very quickly.

“Just beware of the tides which will be flooding in and the tide that’ll be going back out. Because when the tide goes out, that’s when you have your rip currents that are generated. So the best thing to do when you go to the beach, especially around Donegal and the West coast, is to go to one with a blue flag. Go up to the lifeguards and ask where the safest place is to swim on the beach, because they will have the knowledge.”

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