A 9-year-old boy rescued from the sea in Co Clare late on Sunday night has been transferred to a Dublin hospital for further treatment.
The boy, who lives in Limerick City, had been with his father in an area where a number of men had been fishing from rocks close to Blackhead lighthouse in the north of the county.
The alarm was raised shortly after 9.00pm 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 was alerted at 9.13pm and quickly launched their boat and raced to the scene. Other personnel travelled to the area by road to coordinate a shore line search.
The Shannon based search and rescue helicopter was also scrambled reaching the search site in about 10 minutes. Gardaí were also alerted and travelled to the area.
The emergency call reported a boy had fallen into the sea and that he was threading water but was unable to make back it to the shore. The cliffs are about 30 feet high at the location.
The unconscious boy was located quickly and recovered from the water by the Doolin rescue boat crew who promptly initiated CPR before the child was airlifted to Galway University Hospital.
Search teams met with a Polish man at the scene who tried to explain to them what happened. It’s believed the young boy may have been in the water for up to 40 minutes before he was located.
It’s also understood that a lifebuoy located nearby was thrown to the child in an effort to rescue him. The boy’s father also attempted to reach the child and sustained cuts and bruises from climbing down the rock face to the water.
The Galway RNLI lifeboat was also sent to assist in the search while the Kilkee unit of the Coast Guard, which had been training south of Doolin at the time,
The operation was coordinated by the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue coordination centre on Valentia Island in Co Kerry.
A Coast Guard spokesman confirmed: “We received a report of a person in the water near the lighthouse at Blackhead. The Doolin unit of the Coast Guard was dispatched along with the Shannon based rescued helicopter Rescue 115. The RNLI lifeboat from Galway was also sent to assist.”
“The boy was located quickly and recovered from the water to the boat where CPR was initiated before the child was transferred to the Coast Guard helicopter and airlifted to Galway University Hospital,” the spokesman added.
The critically ill boy was transferred to Temple Street Hospital in Dublin yesterday afternoon.
Last December, a 47-year-old Lithuanian man was swept into the sea while shore fishing in the same area. Despite a 14-day a search the man’s body was not found.