IMAGE : RNLI
The lifeguards who patrol the Causeway Coast beaches daily between 11am and 7pm, were finishing up for the day when at 7.10pm a member of the public raised the alarm.
The male swimmer had been seen entering the water 300-400m west of the patrol zone, towards Whiterocks, when he got into difficulty and was struggling to stay afloat.
Lifeguards Josh McCaw, Albert Dallas, Marcus McKeag and Nicola McIlroy immediately ran with their boards up the beach in the direction of the casualty. Portrush RNLI’s inshore lifeboat helmed by Ben Wilson, was on exercise at the time when the crew spotted the lifeguards and immediately made their way to the scene. The casualty was taken onboard the lifeboat and then transferred into the care of the lifeguards.
RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Karl O’Neill said the situation could have been different minutes later: ‘Firstly, we would like to commend the member of the public who raised the alarm when they spotted someone in difficulty and we would like to wish the swimmer well after his ordeal.
‘We want to remind everyone that while our lifeguards are busy patrolling our beaches daily, it is important to remember and adhere to our key safety advice both in and outside the patrol time of 11am-7pm. We were fortunate yesterday evening to be still on the beach when this incident happened and thankfully it resulted in a good outcome. We want to encourage people that when you plan a trip to the beach to check weather and tide times before you go and if planning to go into the water, to swim at a lifeguarded beach, between the red and yellow flags.
‘We want everyone to enjoy this beautiful weather and to come to our beaches but we want everyone to do that with safety in mind knowing to always respect the water and to remain vigilant. If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help and if you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’