Monday 20 November 2017

Girl (14) swept into the sea on scouting trip dies

Waterford Regional Hospital
Waterford Regional Hospital
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

A 14-year-old girl who was swept into the sea near Wexford's Hook Head has died this afternoon.

The teenage girl, named locally as Aoife Winterlich, was part of a group of Dublin Scouts swept into the water while walking on rocks. The tragedy occurred at about 2pm on Sunday during an expedition by the scout group to the county.

Aoife had recently joined the 55th South Circular Road scout group.

In a statement, Scouting Ireland extended its deepest sympathies to the teenager's relatives who had lost a "much-loved daughter and sister".

"In her short time with the group, she was an enthusiastic and popular member who participated fully in all activities," it added.

It confirmed it is providing support to the group, and in particular to the venture scouts and their leaders who were visiting Hook Head last weekend.

Weather conditions were blamed for a strong sea surge that swept the four - a woman in her 20s and three teens - off the rocks into the sea.

The Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter was immediately dispatched together with two local RNLI units.

Aoife had been knocked unconscious but was kept afloat by her friend.

A decision was made to bring Aoife and the boy up in the first winch lift because the rescue team felt leaving one in the water could have caused them to drown.

As the pair were being lifted into the helicopter, an unconscious Aoife slipped and fell back into the water.

Reports have varied over whether she fell 15 feet or 30 feet back into the sea.

She was recovered moments later and brought to Waterford University Hospital in Ardkeen but she never regained consciousness.

A review carried out by the Coast Guard found the winch team had no option but to lift both teenagers simultaneously due to the proximity of both to the rocks, in what was an extremely challenging manoeuvre.

Scouting Ireland is carrying out its own review of the expedition.

Irish Independent

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