Lucky escape for kayaker – Busy day for Coast Guard in Clare

Lucky escape for kayaker – Busy day for Coast Guard in Clare



The bridge at Killaloe/Ballina where the incident occurred – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2019

A kayaker had a lucky escape this afternoon when he became pinned against a pontoon in strong currents on the River Shannon in Killaloe.

The alarm was raised at around 12.40pm when emergency services were alerted to a person in difficulty in the water in Ballina on the Tipperary side of the river.

The Killaloe unit of the Irish Coast Guard was paged and mobilised to the incident along with Gardaí and the ambulance service.

It’s understood that the lone kayaker lost control of his craft in the fast flowing river and got pinned against a pontoon at the bridge that connects Killaloe in Clare to Ballina on the Tipperary side.

Fortunately, the man was not pushed beneath the surface and managed to keep his head about the water and call for help.

A Killaloe Coast Guard member responding to the call stopped to assist the man and remained with him until rescue teams arrived at the scene.

The man was taken from the water and while shaken, appeared otherwise unharmed. He was assessed at the scene by first responders and found did not require medical assistance.

The Irish Coast Guard described the incident as a ‘lucky escape’ for the man and praised their member who was first to reach the scene. The Coast Guard has also thanked the crew of a local cruise boat, the Spirit of Killaloe, who also assisted in the rescue effort.

It was also busy day for another of the three Irish Coast Guard units based in Clare.

Volunteers from the Doolin unit were called to the Cliffs of Moher after an American tourist was injured in a fall on the walking trail.

The scene at the Cliffs of Moher this afternoon

The woman is understood to have sustained a dislocated shoulder after losing her footing on the coastal route between the cliffs visitor centre and Hags head.

Coast Guard teams responded to the incident along with the Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter which landed close to the scene.

The woman was assessed by Rescue 115’s winchman/paramedic and comforted by Coast Guard volunteers until an ambulance arrived. It was decided that the woman would be transported by road to University Hospital Limerick for treatment.

Earlier, Doolin Coast Guard and Rescue 115 assisted with the evacuation of a man who was injured in a fall while taking part in a training event in Clare.

The man, a member of Mountain Rescue Ireland, was involved in an exercise with other volunteers when he was injured. He was airlifted from the scene but his injuries are not believed to be serious.

The man was winched on board Rescue 115 and flown to Shannon Airport – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2019


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.