Swimmer lost at sea for nearly 12 hours off the coast of Ireland is rescued thanks in part to a pod of bottlenose dolphins.
A man believed to be in his 30’s decided to swim from Castlegregory beach to Mucklaghmore Rock (over 5.5 miles), but the chilly water and long distance proved to be too much. He used his remaining strength to stay afloat.
Two lifeboat crews and a helicopter were dispatched to find the missing swimmer after his belongings were found on the beach.
Rescuers scoured the open waters and told BBC they used “every part of their training” to rescue the man. They relied on coxswain Finbarr O’Connell’s knowledge of local tide patterns to guide them.
As the sunlight began to fade the crew spotted dolphins and something sticking out above the water. At first, they thought it was a seal but then the man raised his hand.
The exhausted man was rescued by Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers.
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RNLI said, “At 20:30, the volunteer lifeboat crew with Fenit RNLI spotted a pod of dolphins and a head above the water about two-and-a-half miles off Castlegregory beach.”
The man was only wearing swim trunks in the chilly water and appeared to be suffering from hypothermia. Rescuers were amazed he survived so long but said they pulled him from the water just in time.
“He was very, very lucky. There is no doubt about it. Another half an hour, and he was a goner. None of us or the medics can believe he survived it,” stated O’Connell.
The man was brought to a local hospital where he is recovering.
Gerard O’Donnell, of Fenit RNLI reiterated, “This was a very lucky individual.” He advised other swimmers to take caution because the water off Ireland’s coast can be cold even in summer.
This rescue can be summed up in one word – miracle.
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