Swimmer dies off Co Antrim coast
Another swimmer was taken to hospital after the incident at a beach in Ballycastle.
A swimmer died and another was taken to hospital after getting into difficulty in the sea off the Antrim coast.
The woman, named locally as Deirdre McShane, died in the incident off a beach at Ballycastle at around 8.30am.
She was part of a small group of swimmers who take part in early-morning sea swims in the area.
Another woman who got into difficulty was taken to Causeway Hospital for treatment for the effects of hypothermia.
Local councillor Cara McShane is related to the woman who died.
“From a family point of view we are shocked and devastated at this awful tragedy,” said the Sinn Fein representative.
“The wider community in Ballycastle is also in shock but I want to thank those who tried to help this morning and of course the emergency services for their efforts.
“I have no doubt the people of Ballycastle will rally round and offer support to help through the time ahead.”
Police, fire and rescue service, ambulance crews and the air ambulance were all involved in the emergency response.
The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said an emergency call was received at 8.28am following reports of a number of swimmers in difficulty.
Two ambulance crews, two ambulance officers and a hazardous area response team (Hart) officer attended the scene.
Two crews from Ballycastle fire station attended. Police officers were also involved in the rescue operation.
PSNI inspector Mick Wood said: “Police received a report from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service shortly after 8.30am today for the concern for safety of two female swimmers at Ballycastle beach in the Cushendall Road area.
“Officers attended the scene along with other emergency services colleagues, including the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, Air Ambulance NI and the Coastguard.
“Tragically, one of the women passed away at the scene.
“The second female has been taken to hospital where she remains undergoing treatment.”
A spokeswoman for the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of a woman who tragically died this morning following an incident at Ballycastle beach in the Cushendall Road area.
“We received the call at 8.41am. Two Fire Appliances from Ballycastle Fire Station, along with other emergency services, attended the scene to assist with the safety of two female swimmers.
“Both swimmers were out of the water on arrival of fire crews. Firefighters assisted paramedics with CPR.”