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Water safety warnings after five people rescued off Ballycastle coast

Two taken to hospital and three treated by paramedics after boat incident at Ballycastle

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Operation: Emergency services at the scene of an incident on the beach at Ballycastle

Operation: Emergency services at the scene of an incident on the beach at Ballycastle

Operation: Emergency services at the scene of an incident on the beach at Ballycastle

The coastguard has appealed for people to exercise caution around seaside areas this weekend after a trip to the beach almost ended in tragedy when five people got into serious difficulty off the Ballycastle coast.

Emergency services were called to the scene of the incident involving a number of pedalo bikes and a safety boat shortly before midday on Thursday.

Two people were taken to hospital and three people were treated at the scene by paramedics.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) said three people on the bikes went into the surf zone where they were swamped by a wave before being helped on to a group leader’s boat which then capsized.

A spokesperson for the coastguard said there’s been an increase in such incidents this year as a result of people spending more time locally due to the pandemic.

“The weather has been particularly good over the past week or so, and it’s looking like that’s going to be the case for the next week, so we do expect to be quite busy,” he said. Temperatures in the low 20s can be expected until at least the middle of next week.

Anyone hoping to visit the beach this weekend as a result of good weather should take precautions to stay safe, added the coastguard spokesperson.

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The beach at Ballycastle

The beach at Ballycastle

The beach at Ballycastle

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“The main thing is to look at the forecast and to check what the weather conditions and sea conditions are going to be.

“We’d also recommend if you’re going to go into the beach and go into the sea, to go to a beach that has lifeguards on it, especially at the weekend, which I think most of the beaches on the north coast do have.”

Police thanked those involved in the incident.

“These were two separate incidents which occurred within metres of each other and within minutes of each other too.

“Thank you also to NIAS, the Helimed team, Coastguard, RNLI, and all members of the public who helped, provided support to those involved and assisted with the moving of equipment and persons. All persons were transported by road ambulance to hospital as a precautionary measure with no life threatening injuries,” they said.

A spokesperson for the Ambulance Service said four emergency crews, an officer and the charity air ambulance were called to the scene.

“Following assessment and initial treatment at the scene, two patients were transported by ambulance to Causeway Hospital in Coleraine,” they said.

Ballycastle Sinn Fein councillor Cara McShane has said their thoughts are with those who were involved with the incident at Ballycastle sea front near Pans Rocks.

“At this time of the year, with the beautiful weather, the holiday period brings hundreds and thousands of people to our coast. Particularly in this year of staycations Ballycastle has seen a huge influx of visitors.

“I would appeal to people to be vigilant and to keep safe in the water and on the beaches.”

The incident happened not far from where local swimmer Deirdre McShane lost her life after getting into difficulty in December 2019.


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