A daring rescue by some quick-thinking Coast Guard and RNLI members averted a tragedy in West Cork yesterday when a fisherman was swept into the water in dangerous conditions, writes Padraig Hoare.
Castletownbere Coast Guard was galvanised into action when the man, who had been fishing off the rocks with two others, was swept into the sea by a wave near Dursey Island cable car at around 12pm.
It looked precarious for the man, who managed to drag himself out of the water but ended up stuck on a ledge just above the heavy swell, unable to climb up further and suffering from hypothermia.
The Shannon-based Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 and Castletownbere RNLI Lifeboat arrived, but because of the difficult location they were unable to assist the stricken fisherman, with the RNLI unable to launch its inflatable Y-boat due to swells, and Rescue 115 unable to deploy a winchman.
Despite the precarious nature of the emergency, the quick-thinking rescue personnel ensured tragedy was prevented by setting up a climbing rig and sending down a climber, who managed to reach the casualty and get him into a rescue harness.
They were then hauled to safety.
After an assessment with Castletownbere ambulance crew, the man was airlifted to Tralee General Hospital for follow-up treatment.
He is expected to make full recovery, according to Castletownbere Coast Guard.
This story first appeared in the Evening Echo.