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Man rescued minutes from death off Down coast 'doing well' - mum thanks emergency teams

By Claire Williamson

A man who was rescued in the sea off Co Down after a passerby heard his faint shouts is recovering well.

Just after 8am on Wednesday morning Bangor RNLI's volunteer crew responded to the report of a man in difficulty 200 metres off the Ballyholme Bay shore in Bangor.

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The alarm was raised by Mark Pollock who is an employee of Ards and North Down council and was working in Banks Car Park.

He heard faint shouts and initially thought it was someone calling for their dog.

He continued to look in the sea until he saw that there was someone in the water.

The Coastguard said without Mr Pollock's quick thinking in calling for help there would have been a very different outcome.

After the patient was taken to hospital Bangor lifeboat operations manager Kevin Byers said that just five more minutes in the water would have been fatal.

The man's mother contacted Bangor RNLI on Wednesday night to provide an update and said the man is doing well.

She also thanked everyone involved in the rescue.

Bangor RNLI posted on Facebook: "Following yesterday's rescue of the young man in Ballyholme Bay we have been inundated with messages of support hoping he is OK.

"We are delighted to say that we received a message from his mother last night to thank everyone involved in the rescue, and to let us know he was recovering well, and safe with friends and family."

The rescue team said without the quick actions of the team this family would be facing a "very different start to 2017".

"Please remember, if you see someone in difficulty in the water (or even just think they are in difficulty):

"1. Dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard - not the police.

"2. Give a full description of what you have seen, with the most precise location you can.

"3. Leave a contact number so that you can be called back for additional information - if required."

The patient, who is thought to be in his late 20s, was wearing only tracksuit bottoms, a T-shirt and sock. It is unknown why he was in the water.

Mr Pollock said: "I am just delighted that I heard his calls and hope he makes a full recovery."

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