A major search and rescue operation was launched last night for a surfer reported missing over two hours after he had been last seen.
The man had been surfing Aileen’s Wave off the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare when it’s believed he got into difficulty.
The wave, only discovered in the last decade, has attracted expert and professional surfers from all over the world. Surfers have be towed out to sea jetski’s and other craft to catch the wave which reach over 30 feet in height.
It’s understood that several surfers had gone to the area yesterday afternoon however a massive search was launched at around 8 o’clock last night when one surfer failed to make it ashore.
The Irish Coast Guard marine rescue coordination centre on Valentia Island in Kerry mounted the search and rescue operation first mobilising the Doolin unit of the service to an area just north of the Cliffs of Moher.
The Kilkee unit of the Coast Guard and the Arann Island RNLI lifeboat were also alerted and requested to assist in the operation.
While the alarm was only raised at around 7.30pm, the last known sighting of the surfer was at around 5.00pm.
Coast Guard volunteers proceeding to the cliff tops at Aill Na Searrach and north along the coast to Doolin.
Using flares to light up the shoreline, search teams located the missing man at a small beach at the base of a cliff. It’s understood he was found stranded between large rocks in an area which wasn’t accessible by boat.
The Sligo based search and rescue helicopter, Rescue 118, was requested to proceed to the area to assess whether the man could be winched from the area. The Shannon helicopter was not available at the time.
Search teams also set up lighting on the cliff top to illuminate the area and mark the location of the casualty for the helicopter crew.
The surfer was winched from the cliff base at around 9.45pm and was airlifted to University Hospital Galway where he was being treated for injuries and hypothermia.