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Swimmer swept out to sea rescued by beach lifeline

A man was saved from drowning in the sea off the North Antrim coast yesterday after passing members of the public threw him a lifeline.

The man got into difficulties while swimming at Whitepark Bay near the Giant’s Causeway yesterday afternoon.

However, members of the public threw a line to him that was located on the beach and dragged him to safety.

Lawrence Cumming, watch officer from Belfast Coastguard, said: “We received a number of 999 calls at about 3pm from members of the public that a swimmer had got into difficulties.

“I believe he was knocked off his feet by a wave and experienced problems returning to the shore as a result.

“We launched the Portrush inshore lifeboat and the Ballycastle Coastguard team but as they were proceeding to the area members of the public used lifesaving equipment on the beach and threw the line to him.

“He was able to grab it and they pulled him to shore before the Coastguard arrived. He was taken to the Causeway Hospital to be checked over.”

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Mr Cumming said the episode has demonstrated the importance of lifesaving equipment, such as life rings and lines.

“This man was very lucky the equipment was there to be used when it was needed and we would appeal to members of the public to leave such equipment and report to us when any is missing so it can be replaced,” he explained.

He went on to warn of the dangers of rip tides in the area.

“We really would recommend against swimming in the area particularly as we come into the winter,” he said.

“This is an Atlantic-facing coast and as a result there is a great deal of swell and rip tides. People are advised against swimming there as it is quite dangerous.”

Meanwhile, an area of Whiterock Beach in Portrush was cordoned off following the discovery of a body yesterday afternoon.

It is understood a man was found on the beach and police are working to establish a cause of death.

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