Swimmer rescued after getting trapped in sinkhole in West Cork

A woman had been out swimming when she got caught in the sinkhole. Someone walking nearby heard her shouts for help and called the rescue services.
Swimmer rescued after getting trapped in sinkhole in West Cork

The Courtmacsherry RNLI Lifeboat Crew involved in today’s callout were Coxswain Sean O Farrell, Mechanic Stuart Russell and crewmembers Mark Gannon, Peter Nunan and Sean Maxwell. Picture: Courtmacsherry RNLI

A major rescue operation was launched in West Cork this afternoon after a swimmer got trapped in a sea inlet.

A woman had been out swimming when she got caught in the sinkhole. Someone walking nearby heard her shouts for help and called the rescue services.

The Courtmacsherry Lifeboat was called out at around 5pm to the incident at Dunworley Beach near Butlerstown.

Coxswain Sean O'Farrell and a crew of four were on their way to the scene in minutes and reached the area within 15 minutes of the call.

A major land-based rescue operation got underway with the Old Head/Seven Heads Coastguard crew rigging themselves to climb down the sinkhole to assess the woman.

The Lifeboat and Coastguard 115 helicopter remained nearby as the highly trained crew lowered two members into the inlet to locate the trapped swimmer.

They were able to bring the young woman up the sinkhole cliff-face to safety where an ambulance crew was at the ready. They covered her in protective sheeting and transferred her to the nearby ambulance for observation.

The woman had been in the water for well over 90 minutes overall and there was great relief that she had been brought to safety.

Vincent O'Donovan, the Courtmacsherry RNLI Voluntary Lifeboat Station LPO Officer said it has been a busy start to the year with nine callouts in the Courtmacsherry area.

"It was great to see the total dedication of so many voluntary persons from all the rescue services today and every day in these difficult Covid times, who drop all and rush to the aid of others in difficulties," he said.

Mr O'Donovan reminded people of the importance of calling rescue services at 112 or 999 as quickly as possible in a situation like today.

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