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Image / Editorial

Warning issued after 9-year-old girl caught in riptide at Donegal beach


by Jennifer McShane
26th Aug 2019
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We may be nearing the very end of the summer, but it’s still shorts and t-shirts weather which means it’s also warm enough to be making the best of the warm days and heading to the beach. With this in mind, it’s vital that we’re still conscious of water safety while swimming.

Over the last 24 hours, reports emerged of a young girl who got into difficulty on Murder Hole Beach near Downings in Donegal.

The 9-year-old girl was pulled out to sea by a riptide at one of Ireland’s most scenic beaches, according to a report on breakingnews.ie.

She was pulled out to sea and said to be in extreme difficulty before two men swimming in the area noticed and went to help.

The rouge current had dragged her out, and she became distressed revealing that she was unable to swim properly.

The men eventually pulled her to safety, but the youngster was said to be treated for “extreme shock” following the incident.

What exactly is a riptide?

A riptide is an extremely strong, unpredictable current that flows across another.

“This was a very close call and only for these two men were swimming nearby this girl would certainly have drowned,” said an onlooker.

“People need to be aware of riptides and how dangerous they are. What appears to be a calm sea can change in seconds and people are powerless to swim against it.”

Staying safe in the water

 The RNLI still has a water safety ‘cold shock’ campaign ongoing which offers advice to the public, should they enter cold water – anything below 15°C is defined as cold water and can seriously affect your breathing and movement, so the risk is significant most of the year – unexpectedly:

  • Take a minute. The initial effects of cold water pass in less than a minute so don’t try to swim straight away.
  • Relax and float on your back to catch your breath. Try to get hold of something that will help you float.
  • Keep calm then call for help or swim for safety if you’re able.

Before you plan on enjoying the water:

    • Check conditions – including water temperature – before heading to the coast. Visit magicseaweed.com for full surf reports in the UK and Ireland.
    • Wear a wetsuit of appropriate thickness for the amount of time you plan to spend in the water and the type of activity you’re doing, if entering.
    • Wear a flotation device. It greatly increases your chances of making it through the initial shock.

Main photograph: Unsplash

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