Major search operation continuing for soldier missing off Donegal coast

Defence Forces member got into difficulty while swimming off Tullan Strand

Major search operation continuing for soldier missing off Donegal coast

Tullan Strand, Bundoran | File photo: Wikimedia Commons

A major search operation is continuing this afternoon for a swimmer missing off the coast of Co Donegal.

The missing man is a serving member of the Defence Forces based in Athlone. He got into difficulty while swimming with colleagues off Tullan Strand in Bundoran yesterday evening. 

The Malin Head Coast guard is co-coordinating the rescue effort, assisted by up to 100 members of the Defence Forces.

Shane Smyth of the Bundoran RNLI told Newstalk that the search area has expanded due to changing tides.

"Conditions are pretty similar to what they were yesterday, which is very heavy swell around Tullan Strand area, which is where the man went missing," he said. 

A spokesperson for the Defence Forces said: "Three members of the Defence Forces encountered difficulties while swimming in the Bundoran area of Donegal yesterday evening.

"Two of the Defence Forces members were rescued. Unfortunately, one is still missing and his next-of-kin are being assisted by our personnel support services.

"The missing Defence Forces member was in Finner Camp attending a course but is normally based in Custume Barracks, Athlone.

"The search operation includes 100 members of the Defence Forces drawn from the 28th Infantry Battalion and the 2nd Brigade Artillery Regiment. There is an AW139 helicopter is on site along with the Naval Service dive team.

"Our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of the missing man. "