Windsurfer lost at sea for even hours makes it to shore unaided

A woman surfing - generic
A woman surfing - generic

A windsurfer who was lost at sea for seven hours managed to make it ashore unaided after travelling from Co Kerry to Co Clare.

A major multi-agency search-and-rescue operation took place on Sunday night after the alarm was raised when the windsurfer - who was last seen at 4pm - had not returned home.

A naval vessel, RNLI, Coast Guard helicopter and Rescue 115 were all deployed to the area and battled severe winds and sea swells in the darkness to search for the man.

A spokesman for the Fenit RNLI said: "Fenit RNLI was requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat at 5.34pm following initial reports from the Irish Coast Guard that there was a person reported overdue off the Ballybunion coast in Co Kerry.

"The all-weather lifeboat under Coxswain Tony Stack launched immediately and the volunteer crew made their way to the scene."

Later in the evening, the inshore lifeboat from Kilrush RNLI was subsequently requested to launch and join the search.

The search continued until about 11pm when news came that the windsurfer had managed to make it ashore and raise the alarm with a member of the public.

He was subsequently transferred by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick.

The windsurfer had managed to travel the 25 nautical miles from Ballybunion in Co Kerry to Kilkee in Co Clare.

Speaking following the call-out, Charlie Glynn, Kilrush RNLI crew member and lifeboat press officer said: "This is such good news this morning and we are delighted that after the windsurfer was missing for so long yesterday evening, that this man is alive," he said.

"While we don't have the details from the casualty's perspective, he had to have been an experienced windsurfer who was wearing the correct clothing and gear, and who knew what to do when he got into difficulty.

"He stayed with his board and managed somehow to travel the long distance to shore.

"All in the RNLI wish him well for a full and speedy recovery following what must have been a frightening experience for him.

"We would remind everyone taking to the sea to always respect the water.

"Always carry a means for calling for help, such as a personal locator beacon, especially if you are on your own, it could be a lifesaver.

"Always tell someone you are going out and when you will be back. Make sure they know where you are sailing and who to call if you are not back in time."