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Warning as wave sweeps man off pier

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The rubbish washed up against the sandbags at Clontarf. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

The rubbish washed up against the sandbags at Clontarf. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

The rubbish washed up against the sandbags at Clontarf. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

THE coastguard is warning people attempting to video or photograph sea waves crashing inshore that they are risking lives.

A man in his 50s is lucky to be alive today after being swept off the pier at Howth by giant waves that battered the coast.

And a group of people that had gathered at Dun Laoghaire to see the raw power of nature up close also had to be guided off a pier there when conditions deteriorated and put their lives at risk.

The coastguard has warned that surging seas can sweep a person away in seconds and that it is by pure luck there has not been a tragedy over the past few days.

And warnings are being issued for people to be careful when walking near coastal areas after large swells washed rubbish including syringes ashore.

In Clontarf, where council workers were cleaning up the seafront area, needles were found strewn amongst debris washed inland over recent days.

The Coastgauard operations manager Declan Geoghegan described the two events that occurred in Dublin yesterday, saying that the people involved were not only putting their own lives at risk, but those of rescue crews who are tasked with bringing them to safety.

"There was one man on the pier in Howth who was suddenly swept off it and suffered a broken ankle," said Mr Geoghegan.

FRACTURE

"Fortunately he was washed onto the lower pier and not out to sea," he added.

"He was obviously getting as close as he could to watch the waves breaking and suddenly a high wave came in and just took him off the pier wall."

The man, in his 50s had to be taken to shore by lifeboat before being transferred by ambulance to Beaumont Hospital where he was treated for his broken ankle.

The incident happened at 2.45pm as the day's high tides combined with a massive sea swell which caused huge waves to crash against the east coast.

"Later on the east pier in Dun Laoghaire there were a number of people who were watching the waves breaking, and with the assistance of the gardai we had to close access to them and keep it monitored.

"That's happening right around the country," Mr Geoghegan explained.

"This has become quite a pastime for some people, and posting these pictures on social media sites.

"They are putting themselves in extreme danger of being swept of because although it will moderate this afternoon you still have the tide and high swell which will very quickly sweep someone into the sea before they can get out of the danger area," he told RTE radio.

"Apart from putting themselves in danger these people are also putting the rescue teams at risk for no good reason," Mr Geoghegan said.

cfeehan@herald.ie


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