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Revellers saved in beach drama

SEVEN people had to be rescued at Howth Head last night after becoming stranded by an incoming tide.

The five men and two women were on a small beach in the vicinity of the Bailey lighthouse in Co Dublin when they became trapped.

The group telephoned the coastguard for assistance as they feared for their safety in the fading light.

They were assisted by ropes up the 50m cliff by a 20-strong rescue team in an operation which was completed just before 10pm.

None of the party required any further medical treatment.

A spokesman for the coast-guard said the group had "got down into this particular area and they were unable to get back up". He said they were involved in "some sort of leisure activity" but he added he could not speculate what they were doing. "Needless to say, it was St Patrick's Day," the spokesman said.

The operation was run by the Marine Rescue Coordination Centre in Dublin.

The Howth Coast Guard unit was called and it sent out its cliff rescue team.

"They were tasked at a minute past 7pm and at 21.56 the coast guard unit had completed the operation and all casualties had been taken from the beach area. The gardai were advised of the situation also," the spokesman said.

Howth coastguard said the group reported "bad visibility at about 30m due to low fog".