Girl (15) reported to have slipped from winch during rescue

Review launched of incident in water at Hook Head after two teenagers hospitalised

A review is being carried out by the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) following reports of a “winching incident” during the rescue of a 15-year-old girl near Hook Head on Sunday afternoon.

The teenage girl, who was rescued with a boy of the same age after they were swept out to sea, remains in a critical condition in Waterford University Hospital. The boy is in stable condition.

It is understood that during the air rescue, the girl accidentally slipped from the grasp of the helicopter winchman and fell back into the sea. She was reportedly recovered moments later and brought to hospital.

The Irish Coast Guard said on Tuesday that the investigation unit was carrying out a preliminary review into “the circumstances of the event” which took place on Sunday in Waterford to determine whether it would be the subject of an investigation.

“The AAIU received direct notification from the operator regarding a winching incident that occurred on December 6th, 2015,” said the statement from the coast guard.

A spokesman for the Irish Coast Guard failed to confirm whether the girl had fallen back into the sea during the rescue operation.

The teenagers were taking part in a scouting expedition when the incident occurred.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Scouting Ireland chief executive Paul Lawlor said the scout leaders who were on duty during the expedition involving 14 children were “experienced and well-trained”, and were trusted to make a judgement call as to whether the trip should go ahead following the weekend’s stormy weather.

As part of the review, Mr Lawlor said Scouting Ireland will assess if there were “things that could have been done to make the trip safer; could they have avoided this or the other”.

He said representatives of the group would speak to other young people who were on the trip and their parents in a bid to ascertain what happened in the lead up to the incident.

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