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Saturday 23 March 2019

Young girl (12) in 'critical condition' after boating incident

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

David Raleigh

A young girl has been rushed to hospital in a critical condition after a boating incident in Limerick this morning.

The girl is understood to have been one of a group of four female youths traveling in a rowing boat that was found overturned on a stretch of the Abbey River.

Three other girls all believed to be of a similar age, were in the boat at the time, and were understood to have been accompanied by a support boat.

The tragedy unfolded around 10am at a stretch of the river known locally as the Old Salmon Weir.

According to sources, members of Limerick City and County Fire and Rescue Service came across the boat overturned in the water.

The fire service was made up of specially-trained Swift Water Rescue Technician water rescue personnel who had been carrying out a routine performance check of their rapid response boat Fireswift.

The firefighters immediately swung into a search and rescue operation, which also involved members of the Limerick Marine Search and Rescue Service, gardai, and the Shannon-based Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter.

It's believed the injured girl became trapped underneath the boat after it overturned.

A garda investigation, led by Limerick Superintendent Derek Smart, is underway.

Part of the garda investigation will aim to determine whether or not the girls were wearing or equipped with floatation devices.

Firefighters provided emergency first aid to the injured female casualty as they ferried her to dry land in their boat.

Garda sources said investigators will also liaise with the Marine Casualty Investigation Board which carry out independent investigations into marine casualties in Irish waters.

The girl was taken to St Michael’s Boatclub Slipway in Limerick city and removed by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick where she was in a critical condition, sources said.

She is expected to be transferred to Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Dublin, for further specialised medical treatment.

Munster Regional Communications Centre, the handling and processing centre for all 999 fire service related calls in the region, received the alert at 10.15am.

Four units of Limerick city’s fire service were deployed to Athlunkard Boat Club, near Corbally, to deal with a water rescue call.

The Shannon-based Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter was deployed to the scene but was stood down early in the rescue operation.

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