Five people had a lucky escape when a car in which they were partying became submerged on a beach in Co Cork.
Gardaí believe a woman in her 40s and four men in their 20s went to the beach near Youghal during the early hours of last Sunday and began drinking.
The woman parked her car on the sand near the Quality Hotel at Redbarn and, according to gardaí, reportedly forgot about the tide.
The emergency services received a phone call at around 7am saying that the car was submerged.
Youghal Coast Guard unit and the local lifeboat were dispatched to the scene along with gardaí.
The woman was rushed by ambulance to hospital where she was treated for hypothermia.
A Garda spokesman said it appeared the occupants of the car realised too late the tide was coming in quickly. They tried to move the vehicle but the wheels were already sinking in the wet sand and they watched helplessly as the water engulfed the car.
It is believed the woman suffered hypothermia after getting wet while trying to save her vehicle.
The Garda spokesman said it was fortunate the occupants had not all fallen sleep, otherwise there could have been serious consequences.
“This was very reckless. Over-indulgence in drink is suspected as being a major factor in this incident,” the spokesman said.
The woman, who is from Youghal, is expected to make a full recovery.
None of the young men, who were from Youghal and Cork City, required medical attention.
Gardaí reiterated that people should be very careful where they park their car and should not park on beaches during the hours of darkness.
“Fortunately this incident didn’t have a tragic ending, but it could have,” the Garda spokesman added.
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