Swimmer airlifted to hospital following rescue

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015
The Kilkee unit of the Irish Coast Guard recovered the casualty before he was washed out to sea – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

A man in his 20’s was airlifted to hospital late yesterday after he got into difficulty and was left drifting out to sea.

The man is said to be “lucky to be alive” after he spent over 20 minutes threading water while waiting to be rescued from a cove in Co Clare.

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The swimmer was located in Paradise Cove near George’s Head in Kilkee. While people often swim in the area it’s often considered too dangerous particularly when conditions are poor.

Members of the public on the cliff top spotted the young man in apparent difficulty and called the emergency services.

The Irish Coast Guard marine rescue coordination centre on Valentia Island in Kerry alerted the Kilkee unit of the service which had just returned to base following an earlier call at Cappagh near Kilrush.

The man is understood to have been jumping from rocks into the sea but was unable to climb out again as the sea conditions were poor.

Volunteers from Kilkee Coast Guard launched their rescue boat and raced to the scene where they found the man was mildly hypothermic and exhausted with cuts and bruises for trying to climb out of the sea.

The Shannon based search and rescue helicopter was requested to airlift the man to hospital.

Coast Guard volunteers secured a landing site at the local golf club for the helicopter and after being assessed by paramedics, the man was airlifted to University Hospital Limerick where he was being treated last night.

The casualty was reported to be in a stable condition in hospital.

A Coast Guard spokesman said: “Members had only returned from another call in Cappagh when the pagers were activated again. The rescue boat was launched and the team quickly located the casualty.”

“The man had been threading water for over 20 minutes and was drifting out to sea when we located him. We recovered the casualty to the rescue based and then transferred him to the golf club where the helicopter was able to land,” the spokesman said.

It was Kilkee Coast Guard’s third emergency call in just 15 hours including one incident where volunteers worked for 8 hours straight searching for a lost fisherman.

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