Boy (8) safe after heroic sea rescue by lifeguard Ray
An eight-year-old boy on a bodyboard has been rescued after he got into difficulty in the sea off Downhill beach.
A heroic RNLI lifeguard on patrol at the Co Londonderry beach saved the child, who was about 50 metres out to sea.
He spotted the child in difficulty and immediately seized his rescue board and ran down the beach and out to the aid of the young boy.
The child had been on a bodyboard outside the red and yellow flags, set up by the lifeguards to indicate the safest area to enjoy the water, when he got into trouble.
RNLI lifeguard Ray Cunningham was at his side in minutes and took the boy onto the rescue board and swam back to the shore where he was met by his mother.
Commenting on the rescue, Mr Cunningham said: "It all happened very quickly as with most of these types of emergencies.
"I spotted the child struggling on his paddle board outside the area of the flags.
"He was trying to stay afloat and was too far out from the shore.
"Despite attempting to get back to land, he was not getting any closer and was getting distressed.
"When I arrived on the scene I checked that he was okay and brought him back to safety.
"It was a nice day but we would urge people who want to enjoy the sea to stay between the flags and be vigilant for rip currents.
"This young boy was very lucky, he was working so hard to try and get back to the shore but he was going nowhere and becoming exhausted.
"He was pretty shaken by the ordeal but thankfully had no injuries."
For information on how to stay safe in the water, visit rnli.org/respectthewater