Woman on shore leads lifeboat to man swept out to sea


A WOMAN with binoculars managed to guide a lifeboat to a swimmer who had been washed out to sea yesterday.

The dramatic incident happened just after 3pm off the coast of Co Donegal.

The man had been swimming and was washed more than 1½ miles out to sea off Five Fingers strand in Inishowen.

A call was made to Malin Head Coast Guard, which co-ordinated a rescue in the area.

The Lough Swilly inshore lifeboat, Greencastle lifeboat and the Coast Guard rescue helicopter based in Sligo were scrambled.

The woman who had an elevated view was able to pinpoint and guide the rescue services to the man’s location.

The man was taken on to the Lough Swilly inshore lifeboat and then taken by rescue helicopter to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry for treatment.

His condition is not believed to be life-threatening although he was said to be very traumatised after his ordeal.

The RNLI has paid tribute to Malin Head Coast Guard station and its crew for their knowledge of the area, without which the outcome could have been much different.

Lough Swilly lifeboat spokesman Joe Joyce said: “A person got into difficulty and was swept out to sea about a mile and a half.

“Luckily a member of the public had binoculars and could keep a watch on the person as he was swept out to sea. They were fit to guide the lifeboat to the exact location where he was.

“He was transferred from the lifeboat to the helicopter. He required urgent medical attention and was taken to Altnagelvin, where he is being assessed.

“The guys at Malin Head have an excellent local knowledge. That stretch of water around the top of Ireland is notorious and they know how the currents are going to behave.

“The outcome could have been different but for the local knowledge these guys have,” he said.

Derek Flanagan of Malin Head Coast Guard said it was an excellently executed operation, which had a positive outcome.