A YOUNG man is fighting for his life after suffering critical injuries when he dived off a 17 metre (50ft) cliff in Cork and struck submerged rocks.
The 35 year-old man is being treated for critical head and spinal injuries after the incident at Nohoval Cove, roughly 30km from Cork.
It is understood the man was at the popular coastal spot with friends enjoying the Sunday sunshine.
The young man, who is believed to be from nearby Carrigaline, apparently struck hidden rocks as he dived into the sea around 2pm on Sunday.
A shocked member of the public raised the alarm and a major rescue operation was mounted.
The Coast Guard's Shannon-based Rescue 115 Sikorsky helicopter was tasked to the scene while RNLI and Coast Guard units from Kinsale,
Oysterhaven and Summercove also attended.
Kinsale RNLI volunteers helped bring the injured man ashore and he was then taken by helicopter to Cork University Hospital (CUH).
Two ambulances attended the scene but a helicopter transfer was deemed faster given the serious nature of the man's injuries.
Onlookers were visibly distressed by the scenes.
Gardaí contacted the man's family and they were maintaining a vigil for him at CUH.
Senator Tim Lombard, who is based locally, said that everyone was shocked by the accident.
“The young man must not be from the locality because people living here regard Nohoval Cove as extremely dangerous because of hidden sea rocks and strong rip tides," he said.
"Locals would never go into the sea at that spot. I understand there were huge crowds in the area and they were all over the place, in the fields on top of the cliffs and down on the small rocky beach area.
“The alarm was raised almost immediately after the man jumped off the cliff and struck the submerged rocks."
Sen Lombard paid tribute to the emergency services who he said were at the scene within minutes of the alert being raised.
He said the indications were that the individual involved was very seriously injured in the incident.
"Everyone locally is hoping and praying that he will be okay."