Volunteers abseil down embankment to rescue injured kayaker

Daring recovery by ‘real heroes’ in Clare Glens beauty spot hailed by colleagues

The rescue helicopter was obliged to stand down and allow land teams recover the injured man. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

The rescue helicopter was obliged to stand down and allow land teams recover the injured man. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

Mountain rescue volunteers who abseiled down a steep embankment to reach a man who was injured while kayaking in the Clare Glens, have been hailed as heroes.

The daring rescue by South Eastern Mountain Rescue, assisted by Killaloe Coast Guard and Newport Fire and Rescue Service, happened in the Co Limerick beauty spot on Sunday.

The emergency first-response team then administered first aid and placed the injured kayaker on a stretcher before carrying him up the incline to waiting paramedics.

The volunteers were described as “real heroes” by a source close to the rescue operation.

The 26-year-old man was taken to University Hospital Limerick for non-life threatening injuries.

He had been kayaking on the Clare River in the Clare Glens near the Tipperary/Limerick border when he sustained a serious injury to his shoulder.

Another kayaker raised the alarm at about 4pm and a multiagency search and rescue operation was mounted by the Irish Coast Guard marine rescue co-ordination centre at Valentia in Co Kerry.

Quick response

The Killaloe unit of the Coast Guard and Waterford-based search and rescue helicopter, Rescue 117, were requested to respond to the incident as Rescue 115, based in Shannon, was unavailable.

Members of the South Eastern Mountain Rescue team travelled to the scene from as far away as Dungarvan and Carrick on Suir. Units of Newport Fire and Rescue Service in Tipperary also responded to the incident.

On arrival at the scene, Rescue 117 was not in a position winch a man down to the casualty because of an obstruction caused by trees.

The helicopter was forced to stand down and allow land teams recover the casualty.

Following a three-hour operation the man was hauled up the embankment on ropes and handed over the HSE ambulance paramedics.

A Coast Guard spokesman said: “This was a very well coordinated effort by all the agencies involved in what were difficult circumstances.”