Two men swept out to sea in supermarket inflatable

The two men had lost one of their paddles and the inflatable boat had become somewhat swamped. 
Two men swept out to sea in supermarket inflatable
A former RNLI crew member spotted the two men 1.5 miles from shore without life jackets. Image source: Crosshaven RNLI Lifeboat Station facebook page

A tragedy was avoided when a former lifeboatman managed to rescue two men in an inflatable supermarket boat, which had been pulled a mile and a half out to sea.

Aengus O’Donovan, a former Crosshaven RNLI crew member was returning to Crosshaven in his trawler, the Majestic IV, when he spotted two young men in the supermarket-bought inflatable.

They had no lifejackets and were approximately one (1.6km) mile south of the Daunt Rock buoy and about 1.5  (2.4km) miles from the shore.

According to a spokesperson for the Crosshaven RNLI, who shared the story on social media, the two young men had lost one of their paddles and the inflatable boat had become somewhat swamped. The wind was blowing offshore, dragging them further out to sea.

Aengus and his crewmate, Mathew Byrne, retrieved the two hypothermic casualties to his boat and wrapped them up in the wheelhouse. 

He then made for Crosshaven RNLI station where Deputy LMA Dr Larrie Martin and three of our first responders, Alan Venner, Georgia Keating, and Jenna O’Shea took control and treated the two men in the station.

According to a spokesperson for the Crosshaven RNLI, the two men were advised that they should get checked out at a hospital. They declined, and the station arranged a taxi for them after they had been warmed up sufficiently to leave unaided.

The inflatable was destroyed at the station.

Commenting on the incident, Hugh Mockler, Deputy Launch Authority said: “These supermarket inflatables have no place on the sea as they are downright dangerous. 

"If these men had not been spotted by Aengus they may never have been found and become another avoidable tragedy for two families.” 

Hugh also praised Aengus for his seamanship and first-aid skills in bringing the two men back to shore safely.

Last month, The Irish Coast Guard appealed to the public to be mindful of the drowning risk associated with the use of inflatable toys in open water as the devices are vulnerable to the slightest breeze or current and can take a child away from shore and into danger.

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