Two girls had a lucky escape after being rescued after being swept out to sea on an inflatable air mattress this afternoon.
he children were playing on the inflatable mattress at Clonea Beach in Co Waterford when strong winds swept them several hundred feet from where they entered the water.
The alert was raised just after midday today and the Helvick leader RNLI launched his coastal lifeboat at the request of the Irish Coastguard.
However, the children were rescued by beach lifeguards on duty and brought safely back to shore.
Pat Devereux, a member of the Helvick Head RNLI, said if lifeguards had not been present the situation could have been very different.
He was on site within minutes along with other RNLI crew members and luckily they were dropped off on arrival after the girls were rescued by lifeguards.
But he said it could only be seconds before the pair were swept out to sea at Dungarvan Bay.
“They had been swept quite a distance on the beach,” he said of the wind, which got strong enough to sweep the girls several hundred yards from where they entered the water.
“They’ve drifted quite a bit and the people with them all of a sudden see them on the dinghy and they’re being taken away,” he said Irish Independent.
“The wind picked up – that’s the risk with inflatable boats. If there’s an offshore breeze, you have ample opportunity to take it straight out to sea,” he said.
The beach, which stretches for about 2km, widens into Dungarvan Bay, he said.
“It’s not a sheltered bay.
“It just goes to show the importance of a patrolled beach. Without her rescue, this could have been a very different situation,” he said.
He said the incident underscores the importance of never using inflatable boats of any type in the sea.
“They’re great fun in the pool, but currents and wind — even a light breeze — can wash them out to sea,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kilmore Quay RNLI rescued three young people aboard a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) which suffered an engine failure off the coast of Wexford on Monday night.
A lifeboat was lowered at 9pm at the request of the Irish Coastguard after the RIB ran into trouble and was adrift on the tide about a mile south of the island of Great Saltee. Weather conditions were calm at this time.
Helmsman Philip Walsh and six volunteer crew members made their way to the scene and checked that everyone on board was safe and well before transferring the three young people onto the lifeboat and towing the RIB back to Kilmore Quay.
“Fortunately there was a positive outcome of the call,” said John Grace, Operations Manager at Kilmore Quay RNLI Lifeboat.
He urged anyone going out to sea to always wear a life jacket, tell someone where they are going and when they will be back, and always carry a reliable means of communication such as VHF or a cell phone in a waterproof case with them in case of help must be called.
“With such a good warning, more people are spending more time on the water making it the busiest time of the year for the RNLI. Even the best-maintained gear can break, so it’s important to always be prepared when it happens,” he said.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/two-girls-rescued-after-being-swept-out-to-sea-on-airbed-41853534.html Two girls rescued after being swept out to sea on an air mattress