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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 10 August, 2020

Irish Coast Guard issues water safety warning after six teens swept out to sea in west Cork

Temperatures over the bank holiday weekend are expected to reach the high 20s.

Cork's Inchydoney beach
Cork's Inchydoney beach
Image: Peter Zoeller/PA

THE RECENT SPATE of good weather has seen a lot of people flouting the 5km travel restriction to cool down by the beach, according to the Irish Coast Guard. 

The Coast Guard’s deputy director, Gerard O’Flynn has urged the public to take extra precautions and to heed public health advice this bank holiday weekend as temperatures are expected to reach the high 20s. 

The warning comes following two separate incidents in west Cork yesterday afternoon in which six teenagers were swept out to sea. 

Four boys were rescued by members of the public, while two girls eventually made their own way back to shore, a kilometre from where they went missing. 

O’Flynn told Morning Ireland people have liberally interpreted the 5km travel restriction, which he says is a “big problem” as too many people are congregating on beaches.

He said that as the lifeguard service hasn’t been fully activated yet, the fear is that people are swimming in areas that are unsafe. The service usually kicks off on the June bank holiday weekend. 

“At this time of year it’s just too risky to go to any old beach and go in because it just looks attractive,” said O’Flynn. 

Yesterday’s “near-miss” involving four teenagers occurred on Cork’s Inchydoney beach which O’Flynn said has some dangerous swimming spots due to rip currents. 

“Unfortunately, a couple of people got into serious difficulty yesterday and a full search and rescue service was mounted.

Fortunately for those people that were rescued, and fortunately support came from very competent members of the public, who were able to assist the people to get out of the water. 

“It was a near miss yesterday and hopefully people will learn from it,” he said. 

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The second incident involving the two girls occurred at Glandore Harbour.

Temperatures over the bank holiday weekend are expected to reach the high 20s but given the time of year, the water is still quite cold. 

“For occasional swimmers, which many people are, it is relatively cold and it can be quite challenging. Don’t be fooled by the sun shining and beautiful days,” he said. 

“But the other thing is don’t swim in an area that you’re not familiar with, because even though beaches can look quite attractive, there are local rip currents which can be highly dangerous. You’re also endangering other people who will endeavour to assist you.” 

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