Sunday 15 September 2019

Man and two children airlifted to hospital after being swept out to sea

Rescue 115. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA
Rescue 115. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA
Derrynane Beach. Photo: Getty
Tralee General Hospital
Members of Fenit RNLI at sea. File image

Patrick Flynn

A man and two children have been airlifted to hospital after they got into difficulty while swimming in Co Kerry this afternoon.

In Derrynane, a man and two children were swept out to sea while swimming at around 12.20pm. Lifeguards on duty at the beach in Derrynane jumped into action while raising the alarm.

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Derrynane Beach. Photo: Getty

Watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre on Valentia Island in Kerry mounted and coordinated a rescue operation, dispatching local resources and the Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 115.

The helicopter had been in the air responding to a call near Fenit and was redirected to the more serious incident at Derrynane.

While lifeguards managed to help the two children ashore one man was left stranded on rocks offshore and unable to make it back to the beach.

READ MORE: 'Drowning can happen in silence - without any splashing or screaming' - HSE issues water safety tips

Derrynane Inshore Rescue, part of Community Rescue Boats Ireland (CRBI), sent a shore team to the area and volunteers waded out into the surf to take the man safely ashore.

After being assessed by paramedics it was decided that all three should be be airlifted to hospital. The man was reported to be "exhausted and losing consciousness" and the two children are believed to be shaken but otherwise unharmed.

Rescue 115 airlifted all three to Tralee General Hospital for further assessment and treatment.

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Tralee General Hospital

The Irish Coast Guard praised the lifeguards for their "outstanding response" this afternoon.

That was the first of two search-and-rescue operation launched in the county in less than half-an-hour today.

Earlier, a multi-agency operation was mounted off Fenit Island in Kerry following a report that two people had been thrown overboard from a boat.

The incident occurred around midday, when it was reported that a boat was out of control and travelling in circles near Barrow West north off Fenit Island.

Initial reports suggested that one person had made it ashore but that a second was unaccounted for.

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Members of Fenit RNLI at sea. File image

The Irish Coast Guard launched a search-and-rescue operation while issuing a radio message to any vessels in the area to assist and report back if possible.

Fenit RNLI’s all-weather and in-shore lifeboats were tasked along with volunteers from Banna Rescue CRBI. The Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 115, was dispatched to the scene also.

However, as the helicopter was in the air it was redirected to the developing incident at Derrynane. 

As the helicopter made its way to the scene it was confirmed that both persons were taken ashore and, while shaken, did not require medical attention.

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