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Surfers and walkers in separate rescues

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Rescue 118 assisting in the rescue of two surfers in Enniscrone last Saturday night

Rescue 118 assisting in the rescue of two surfers in Enniscrone last Saturday night

Emergency services at the scene

Emergency services at the scene

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Rescue 118 assisting in the rescue of two surfers in Enniscrone last Saturday night

Two surfers were airlifted to safety after getting into difficulty off Enniscrone on Saturday evening.

The alarm was raised at around 7pm, after the current brought the two surfers out to sea.

Local kayakers and other surfers went to their assistance and the Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched from Strandhill to the scene.

One of those involved in the rescue effort, surfer Damien Kilgannon from Dromore West said the current had brought the two out to sea quite rapidly.

He said they had been carried past an area known as 'the break'.

Both are understood to be shaken but uninjured after their ordeal.

Mr Kilgannon paid tribute to the efforts of locals and the emergency services in monitoring and resolving the situation.

A large group of people watched the rescue effort unfold from the shoreline and applauded the local surfers involved on their return, shortly after 8.30pm.

Meanwhile, two missing people were located adjacent to the mountains at Ballygawley and were walked to safety on Monday of last week following a call out alert to Sligo Leitrim Mountain Rescue Team from An Garda Síochána.

The incident follows a pattern of increased mountain rescue incidents throughout Sligo and Leitrim.

"This latest rescue underlines the increasingly high incidences of call outs the Team has responded to throughout the summer and can be linked directly to the surge in numbers of people walking and hiking in the region," stated Team Leader Ciarán Davis.

"A couple in their sixties had become disorientated as darkness fell having left the Sligo Way Trail near Slieve Dargan Mountain on Monday evening.

"They dialled 999 and the Team was immediately tasked with locating and evacuating them. The alert commenced at 8.30 and by 9.30 we had dispatched 12 Team members and two vehicles to the search area. We split into a number of search groups and quickly located the missing couple's car.

"We were then able to reduce our search area and utilised an emergency location tracking facility to pinpoint the missing couple's phone. Following a coordinated search, we located them in dense woodland at midnight. Thankfully, they were unharmed and we were able to walk them back to their car."

"We are now regularly carrying out rescue operations in areas which never previously featured in previous events," continued Ciarán.

"Whilst we are glad to see the large numbers of both visitors and locals enjoying the magnificent landscape of Sligo and Leitrim, we are appealing to people to walk within their comfort zones.

"With autumn fast approaching and the evenings closing in, this is not really a time for adventurous excursions that test your abilities and limits.

"And, for the foreseeable future, all of the emergency services remain under operational pressure due to the ongoing Covid-19 precautions.

"Every time we are called out, we have to take extensive precautions and have to carry out significant cleaning and disinfection of all of our equipment, all of which can be very time consuming, both in terms of personnel hours and resources.

"We fully understand that the public is becoming fatigued by Covid-19 precautions but for the emergency services they are an ongoing operational issue which we have to comply with."

Sligo Champion