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Monday 19 March 2018

Investigators seek footage of girl being 'dropped back into sea' during Storm Desmond coastal rescue

The rescue at Hook Head last Sundaym December 6th
The rescue at Hook Head last Sundaym December 6th

David Kearns

The Air Accident Investigation Unit are appealing for witnesses to an air rescue off the Wexford coast where a teen fell back into the sea as she was being hoisted up into a helicopter.

A review into the incident is underway and the AAIU are requesting that any video footage of the rescue be brought to their attention.

“We know that there were quite a few people in the HooK Head area when the rescue and recovery operation was taking place, and we’re hopefully that a few might have captured the winching incident on film,” said a AAIU spokesperson.

“We’d be grateful if any video or camera footage could be sent in so that it can be examined as part of the investigation.”

Last Sunday, a Waterford-based Sikorsky SAR helicopter was called out to rescue two 15-year-old Dublin venture scouts, a boy and a girl, after they were swept off rocks by Hook Head.

However during the rescue mission in horrific weather conditions, the teenage girl slipped from the grasp of the helicopter winch man back into the sea.

Reports vary on whether the 15-year-old fell 15 feet or 30 feet back into the water.

She was recovered moments later and brought to Waterford University Hospital in Ardkeen.

it is understood that the winchman was afraid that if he recovered just one teen from the sea, the other would drown by the time he was lowered back down from the hovering Sikorsky.

The AAIU told that following a preliminary review, it had decided to "formally initiated an investigation" into the circumstances of the rescue.

It will involve detailed interviews with all the helicopter crew, an examination of all voice recordings as well an analysis of relevant cockpit data.

The AAIU described the investigation as “routine”.

“The investigation is ongoing and there is not time length attached to when it is due to end,” they added.

Anyone with video or camera footage relating to the rescue and recovery operation at Hook Head on December 6th should contact the AAIU at

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