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Mother and two children rescued at Silver Strand

Lifeboats News Release

A mother and her two children were rescued this afternoon (Saturday 29 July) in a joint operation between Wicklow RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard at Silver strand beach.

Wicklow RNLI Inshore lifeboat launching on service to swimmers at Silver Strand.

RNLI/Tommy Dover

Wicklow RNLI Inshore lifeboat launching to incident at Silver Strand

The two children had got into serious difficulty while swimming and their mother rushed to their aid, only for the three of them to be swept into a nearby cave.

The Wicklow RNLI inshore lifeboat was launched at 4.40pm after the Coast Guard was alerted to an incident involving swimmers in difficulty at Silver Strand beach, south of Wicklow head. The Dublin based Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 116 arrived on scene and a winchman from the helicopter was landed on the beach to locate the casualties.

Wicklow RNLI inshore lifeboat followed shortly and Helm Graham Fitzgerald brought the rescue vessel close to shore where the lifeboat crew spotted three people and the winchman in a cave.

Weather conditions in the area were windy, southerly force 4 with high breaking surf at the cave. After an assessment by the winchman and lifeboat helm, it was decided that the winchman would lead the casualties to the adjourning cave, as rocks at the entrance would impede getting the boat close to shore.

Once the casualties were in the other cave, the lifeboat crew brought the boat onto the beach and the three female casualties were transferred to the lifeboat along with the Coast Guard winchman.

The mother and her two daughters were believed to have been on a day trip to the beach when they decided to go for a swim and one of them got into difficultly. Her sister had tried to help, but also got into trouble. The mother then entered the water, fully clothed, to help her daughters, which resulted in all three of them ending up in the cave.

The winchman, a trained paramedic, assessed the three casualties on the lifeboat and the decision was made to bring them back to Wicklow harbour. The group were taken into Wicklow lifeboat station were they were given hot drinks.

Speaking after the callout Wicklow RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Des Davitt said: ‘This was a good outcome today resulting in three people being rescued in a joint operation involving Rescue 116, Wicklow inshore lifeboat and the local Coast Guard Shore unit, who located three other children from the group on the beach.’

Wicklow RNLI were involved in a similar rescue at Silver Stand in 2014 when the lifeboat was called out to rescue a woman who had been swept into a cave after getting into difficulty swimming.

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland