Boy (9) rescued from sea loses fight for life

Boy (9) rescued from sea loses fight for life


Blackhead lighthouse in north Clare, the scene of Sunday’s tragic accident – Photo: © Pat Flynn, 2014

The 9-year-old boy rescued from the sea in Co Clare late last Sunday night has lost his flight for life.

Aaron O’Flaherty, from Castletroy View in Limerick City, died in a Dublin hospital yesterday three days after he had been transferred there from Galway University Hospital.

The youngster had been enjoying a day out with his father when he fell into the sea at a popular shore angling spot close to Blackhead lighthouse in north Clare.

Efforts to reach the child with a lifebuoy were unsuccessful while his frantic dad climbed down to the waters edge in an attempt to grab him. Aaron’s dad sustained a number of minor injuries in his efforts to reach him.

The cliffs are about 30 feet high at the location while the area is known for it’s treacherous currents.

The alarm was raised shortly after 9.00pm on Sunday and a massive multi-agency search and rescue operation was quickly put into action by the Irish Coast Guard.

The Doolin unit of the Coast Guard launched their rescue boat and raced to the scene while other personnel travelled to the area by road to coordinate a shore line search.

The Shannon based search and rescue helicopter was also scrambled and reached the scene within 10 minutes. The Galway RNLI lifeboat and Kilkee unit of the Coast Guard were also tasked to assist in the search.

The unconscious boy was located quickly and recovered from the water by the Doolin rescue boat crew who promptly initiated CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

A winch-man was lowered from the helicopter and Aaron was taken on board and flown to Galway University Hospital. It’s believed the child was in the water for about 30 minutes before he was located.

On Monday morning, the critically boy was transferred to Temple Street Hospital in Dublin where his family remained by his side until he passed away yesterday (Thursday) afternoon.

The search operation was coordinated by the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue coordination centre on Valentia Island in Co Kerry.

Rescuers were hopeful that Aaron would recover as he was found quickly despite fading light and sea conditions at the time.

Irish Coast Guard area officer Mr Mattie Shannon said: “This is very sad especially since we were hopeful that there would be a happier outcome. The search was mounted very quickly and everything went very well on the night.”

“We located the casualty very quickly and he was airlifted straight away. It’s a terrible tragedy and our thoughts are with this boys family,” he added.

Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.