Child adrift on lilo rescued from Shannon Estuary

Child adrift on lilo rescued from Shannon Estuary


Kilrush RNLI lifeboat – File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2020

The crews of the Shannon based search and rescue helicopter and Kilrush RNLI lifeboat have been involved in the rescue of a young child in the Shannon Estuary this afternoon.

The 5-year-old girl was airlifted to hospital after she was rescued from a lilo that had drifted about a kilometre into the Estuary off North Kerry.

It’s understood that the girl had been enjoying a visit with her family to a beach near Littor in North Kerry when the the incident occurred. It’s believed the lilo on which the girl had been playing drifted away from the shore.

Watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre on Valentia Island in Kerry received a report of a child adrift on a lilo close to Littor Beach on the southern shore of the estuary and drifting towards the mouth of the waterway.

The Shannon based Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 115, was tasked to the incident after the alarm was raised at around 2.45pm. Rescue 115 had just taken off from Shannon Airport for a training exercise when the crew was diverted to the incident.

The helicopter reached the scene less than 10 minutes later and quickly located the child. It’s understood however that the lilo had drifted over a kilometre offshore from Littor Beach before the helicopter arrived at the scene.

The Kilrush RNLI lifeboat, based in Co Clare on the other side of the estuary, was also requested to respond to the scene.

File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

Rescue 115’s winchman/paramedic was lowered from the aircraft into the water and remained with the girl until the lifeboat arrived. The youngster was then taken on board the lifeboat while the helicopter repositioned and landed at a beach near Beale.

The volunteer lifeboat crew brought the girl ashore and handed her over to the helicopter crew. The child was later airlifted, accompanied by family members, to University Hospital Kerry in Tralee for further treatment. It’s not thought the child’s condition is serious.

Commenting after the call out, Charlie Glynn, Kilrush RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer said: “Thankfully this rescue had a successful outcome and the young girl was reunited with her family. In advance of the June bank holiday we would urge anyone planning a visit to the coast to follow RNLI safety advice:

  • Take care near cliffs – know your route and your limitations
  • Have a plan – check the weather forecast and tide times
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float
  • If boating, ensure your equipment is functioning and maintained
  • In any coastal emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

“As the current COVID-19 restrictions continue to apply, the RNLI continue to be fully operational and on call 24/7. It is appreciated that people will want to get out for a break and take to the water if they are living or exercising near the coast, however, we are asking everyone to follow Government travel instructions,” Mr Glynn added.

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2020

Meanwhile, in a separate similar incident in Co Galway this afternoon, a 6-year-old child was rescued after drifting out to sea on a body board.

The incident happened at around 5.00pm at White Strand beach in Renvyle. It’s understood that boy was on a body board when he was pushed out to sea by the wind and tide. A local man attempted to swim out and help the boy but turned back because of the sea conditions.

The alarm was quickly raised and watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre at Malin Head in Donegal mounted a search and rescue operation.

The Cleggan unit of the Irish Coast Guard and Sligo based search and rescue helicopter (Rescue 118) were alerted and requested to respond to the incident.

The child was picked up by the crew of a local boat about 1.5 kilometres off the coast and brought safely ashore. Rescue 118 landed in a field beside the beach where the helicopter’s paramedic assessed the child.

Once it was confirmed that the child was unharmed and not in need of any further medical assistance the operation was stood down. Clifden RNLI’s two lifeboats were also tasked to the incident but were stood down en route.