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Amateur photographer falls to his death in force eight gale

an amateur photographer fell to his death off rocks beside a landmark lighthouse during a force eight gale.

The man, who was in his 60s, tumbled 50 metres into a gulley at the western side of Fanad Lighthouse in north Donegal.

He had been with a friend taking pictures when the incident happened.

Two rescue boats, two fishing boats and the Sligo 118 Coast Guard helicopter raced to the scene of the accident just before 3pm yesterday.

However crews aboard the Lough Swilly RNLI lifeboat and the Mulroy Coast Guard vessel were initially unable to reach the victim due to high seas and strong winds.

A member of the RNLI team, with a rope attached, managed to swim to where the photographer lay in the gulley and was able to bring him to the Coast Guard boat.

He was airlifted from the rocks by helicopter but was pronounced dead later at Letterkenny General Hospital. The dead man was from Co Antrim.

The incident took place on one of the worst days of the summer in Donegal with torrential rain and high winds all day.

"Conditions were very rough at the time," said Joe Joyce from the RNLI Swilly team.

"There was a Force Eight gale and seas were very high. One of our team entered the water and brought the man to the Coast Guard boat and then ashore where CPR began."

Fanad Lighthouse attracts photographers and tourists from all over the country.