The Irish Coast Guard has seen a busy New Year period this year with a number of incidents around the country, including a dramatic search and rescue incident in Donegal.
The incident in Donegal took place yesterday afternoon (1 January 2013) when the Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Malin Head received a call at 1.15pm from a member of the public who was stuck on cliffs. The incident occurred at the Slieve League cliffs (among the highest sea cliffs in Europe) on the north west coast of Donegal. The male casualty did not report any life threatening injuries.
The Sligo-based Coast Guard helicopter was immediately tasked to the scene but given the precarious location of the casualty and weather conditions at the time, they were unable to winch the male casualty from his location. Killybegs Coast Guard Unit, Donegal Mountain Rescue and the Aranmore Lifeboat were also all tasked to assist. The rescue proceeded to a cliff descent with a team descending to the casualty. Progress was hampered due to shingle on the Cliffside, the precarious position of the casualty and weather conditions. Search teams eventually reached the casualty after 10:30pm last night and began the slow process of bringing the casualty back up the cliff, finally doing so around midnight last night. The casualty was then assessed and transported by Coast Guard helicopter to Sligo General Hospital.
The incident in Donegal was just one of a number of search and rescue taskings received by the Coast Guard over the New Year period. Other incidents included searches for missing persons in Wicklow and Dublin and taskings to reports of persons in the water in Waterford, Limerick and Louth.
Speaking today, Director of the Irish Coast Guard Chris Reynolds said: “Last year was the busiest ever for the Irish Coast Guard and already in the early days of 2013 we have provided assistance in a number of incidents. I am appealing again to the public that they heed local advice and be aware of weather conditions if walking or hiking along our coastline, particularly during winter time.”
Mr Reynolds, continued: “There is safety in numbers, so never be alone while walking along cliff paths if possible. Let somebody know when and where you are going and what time you will be back. Stay well away from the cliff edge, both top and bottom. Don’t attempt to rescue people or pets if they fall over the edge. If assistance is required dial 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. Advice as always from the Coast Guard is if you do see someone in difficulty in the sea, on the shore, cliffs, lakes or rivers dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.”
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. Tel: (01) 604 1090 / (01) 604 1087.