Six people rescued after inflatable airbed drifts out to sea in Co Wexford

Twin four-year-old girls were amoung those brought to shore

Six people rescued after inflatable airbed drifts out to sea in Co Wexford

Part of the rescue operations by Fethard RNLI | Image: RNLI

Four men and twin girls (4) have been rescued after an inflatable airbed drifted out to sea in Co Wexford.

Fethard RNLI was involved in the rescue on Monday evening, after the two girls drifted out to sea on the inflatable lilo.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched just after 8.30pm, when two local women raised the alarm that they could see an airbed with two girls drifting out to sea off Duncannon Beach.

The airbed was blowing directly out to sea.

Four men, one of whom was the children's father, had got into the sea and swam towards the girls.

The RNLI's Hugh Burke launched his own boat, which was near Duncannon, along with a local vessel.

A windsurfer had also made his way to the girls.

One girl was on the lilo, and one of the four men who had swam out to help was holding onto the windsurfer's board.

Mr Burke took the girl and the swimmer onboard and brought them safely back to shore.

It was then revealed that the father of the two girls, who had been taken out of the water by a local swimmer, was in need of serious medical attention on the beach.

The father had reached the airbed and rescued one of the girls.

But as he was swimming the half mile back to the beach with his daughter, he got into difficulty and both were dragged under water.

One of the other men took the girl and made it back to the shore.

That swimmer returned to the water to help, but he also got into difficulty due to exhaustion.

Local swimmer and kayaker

Meanwhile a strong local swimmer - who had seen the incident unfold from his home - got involved and went to the aid of this man.

He brought him to shore before going back into the sea and rescuing the father of the two girls.

As this was happening, a kayaker went to the aid of another man who had entered the water to help - and was drifting 100m away from the others.

That man held onto the kayak as the kayaker brought him ashore.

The man was treated for hypothermia and for drifting in and out of consciousness.

The girl was treated for inhaling a considerable amount of water.

Both responded immediately to casualty care and were looked after by all the volunteers on scene until the arrival of an ambulance.

They were then transferred to hospital for further treatment.

Speaking following the call-out, Hugh Burke of Fethard RNLI said: "With thanks to a huge community effort... a tragedy was averted and we would like to commend all those locally who played their part in bringing the six people to safety.

"We also want to wish everyone who got into difficulty a speedy recovery following their ordeal.

"Time was of the essence this evening and from the raising of the alarm, to the local efforts to get to the scene to help, right through to the administration of casualty care, fortunately it resulted in a good outcome for all."