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Dublin: 6 °C Sunday 8 December, 2019
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Major rescue operation launched last night after two swimmers get into difficulty off Kerry coast

Units from the Coast Guard and RNLI joined in the operation as the pair safely reached the shore.

The pair got into difficulty off Ballybunion beach.
The pair got into difficulty off Ballybunion beach.
Image: Google Maps

A MAJOR MULTI-AGENCY search and rescue operation was mounted in Kerry last night after two people were feared to be in difficulty in the sea.

The Irish Coast Guard received a report at around 11.00pm of a person in difficulty in the water off Ballybunion beach. It was also feared that there may have been a second swimmer in trouble.

Watch officers at the Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre on Valentia Island in Kerry promptly mounted a search operation.

While search and rescue crews from two counties were being mobilised, a Pan-Pan radio message was broadcast on the marine emergency channel requesting any vessels in the area to assist if possible.

The Ballybunion unit of the Irish Coast Guard along with members of Ballybunion Rescue were alerted while the RNLI lifeboat at Fenit in Kerry was tasked as well as the RNLI lifeboat at Kilrush Co Clare, on the other side of the Shannon Estuary.

The crew of the Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 115, were also scrambled. Gardaí and National Ambulance Service paramedics made their way to the scene.

It later emerged that two persons, a male and female, had gotten into difficulty while swimming but managed to make their way ashore.

It’s understood the pair were from Lithuania and had gone for a late night swim when they were spotted in the water by a member of the public who became concerned for their safety.

They were met by emergency services and assessed at the scene by ambulance paramedics. They were found to be tired but otherwise uninjured.

Once it was confirmed they were safe and that no other person was missing, the search operation was stood down.

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Pat Flynn

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