Lahinch swimmer rescued by surf instructor after head injury

Swimmers advised to check with locals before swimming or surfing in rough weather
Lahinch swimmer rescued by surf instructor after head injury

Ben's Surf Clinic, Lahinch

A swimmer has been airlifted to hospital after she was successfully resuscitated following an accident in Co Clare this afternoon.

It’s understood that the woman sustained a head injury at Lahinch and was reportedly left ‘unresponsive’ for a time. It’s believed she struck her head on rocks while swimming.

The Irish Coast Guard, National Ambulance Service and Gardaí were alerted at around 12.30pm and an emergency response was quickly initiated. 

Volunteers from the Doolin unit of the Coast Guard were requested to attend the scene along with the Shannon-based Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 115.

All the circumstances of the incident are not clear, however it’s known that staff from local surf clubs also responded and remained with the casualty until emergency services arrived. A number of nurses who were in the area at the time also helped to care for the woman.

An instructor from Ben’s Surf Clinic saw the woman was in difficulty and went to assist. The woman was carried from the water onto the beach where the surf instructor quickly commenced CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). The woman is understood to have ingested water and was unresponsive for a time but was successfully resuscitated.

Rescue 115 was able to land on the beach and its winchman/paramedic alighted the aircraft and went to assess the patient. The decision was made to evacuate the woman from the scene by helicopter rather than transport her by road.

Ambulance paramedics and Coast Guard personnel worked with the helicopter crew to help prepare the woman for transport to hospital. 

The injured woman was airlifted to University Hospital Galway for treatment. 

The same journey by road to University Hospital Limerick or University Hospital Galway would have taken 60 minutes and 80 minutes respectively.

A spokesman for Ben’s Surf Clinic praised their colleague, the off-duty nurses and all those who assisted at the scene. He added: “We’d advise everyone to please check with locals before going swimming or surfing especially on winter days.”

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