A man was airlifted to hospital this afternoon after spending almost an hour in the water when he fell overboard from a boat in Co Clare.
It was one of four emergencies the Irish Coast Guard dealt with in Clare and South Galway in just a few hours yesterday.
At around 4.00pm, emergency services were alerted to an incident in Kilkee Co Clare where a man was reported to have fallen overboard from a boat and suffered a back injury. It’s understood he was in the water for over an hour before he could be safely recovered and brought ashore.
It’s believed the man was a crew member on board a dive boat when he fell into the water. It’s not clear whether he suffered his injury on board the RIB (rigid inflatable boat) or was injured when he fell into the sea. The man was unable to get back into the boat because of his injury, so the alarm was raised.
The Kilkee unit of the Irish Coast Guard was alerted and requested to respond while colleagues from Doolin were also tasked to assist with the incident. The Shannon based search and rescue helicopter, Rescue 115, was also sent to the scene.
The helicopter’s paramedic was winched into the Kilkee rescue boat and transported a few hundred metres to the casualty. The helicopter landed in the local golf club while the Coast Guard paramedic assessed and stabilised the injured man. The casualty was placed on a spinal board while still in the water before he was lifted on board the Kilkee Coast Guard boat.
The man was transported to the slipway at Kilkee from where he was taken by road ambulance to meet the helicopter and flown to University Hospital Galway for treatment.
Earlier, in the first callout of the afternoon, the Doolin unit of the Irish Coast Guard was alerted at around 2.30pm and requested to assist the National Ambulance Service following a report that a woman had been injured in a fall in the Burren.
The walker sustained a leg injury while walking along the Lough Avilla Loop trail close to Mullaghmore in the Burren National Park.
The area where the accident occurred was inaccessible by vehicles so the Coast Guard was called out to assist with locating and recovering the casualty. The woman was transported across rough terrain by Coast Guard volunteers and handed into the care of ambulance paramedics and taken to hospital for treatment.
At around the same time, Doolin Coast Guard was alerted to a kayaker in difficulty at Crab Island off Doolin.
It’s understand the man’s kayak was struck by a rogue wave and his paddle was washed away. As the Doolin volunteer team responded, the exhausted kayaker was taken on board a local passenger ferry, the ‘Jack B’, and brought ashore at Doolin. He was met at the pier by Coast Guard first responders and assessed. He was found to be exhausted but otherwise unharmed.
In their fourth call-out of the afternoon, the Doolin Coast Guard team was mobilised to Trácht near Kinvara in South Galway where a wind surfer was reported to be in difficulty. Two response vehicles from Doolin attended the incident.
On arrival, they found that the wind surfer had been safely taken ashore by a group of locals. He was reported to be shaken but unharmed.
All four operations were coordinated by watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre at Valentia in Kerry.