A mother and her two children were rescued this afternoon in a joint operation between the Wicklow RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard at Silver strand beach, south of Wicklow town.
The two children had got into serious difficulty while swimming and their mother rushed to their aid, only for the three of them to be swept into a nearby cave.
The Wicklow RNLI inshore lifeboat was launched at 4.40pm after the Coast Guard was alerted to an incident involving swimmers in difficulty at Silver Strand beach, south of Wicklow head. The Dublin based Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 116 arrived on scene and a winchman from the helicopter was landed on the beach to locate the casualties.
Wicklow RNLI inshore lifeboat followed shortly and Helm Graham Fitzgerald brought the rescue vessel close to shore where the lifeboat crew spotted three people and the winchman in a cave.
Weather conditions in the area were windy, southerly force 4 with high breaking surf at the cave. After an assessment by the winchman and lifeboat helm, it was decided that the winchman would lead the casualties to the adjourning cave, as rocks at the entrance would impede getting the boat close to shore.
Once the casualties were in the other cave, the lifeboat crew brought the boat onto the beach and the three female casualties were transferred to the lifeboat along with the Coast Guard winchman.
The mother and her two daughters were believed to have been on a day trip to the beach when they decided to go for a swim and one of them got into difficultly. Her sister had tried to help, but also got into trouble. The mother then entered the water, fully clothed, to help her daughters, which resulted in all three of them ending up in the cave.
The winchman, a trained paramedic, assessed the three casualties on the lifeboat and the decision was made to bring them back to Wicklow harbour. The group were taken into Wicklow lifeboat station were they were given hot drinks.
Speaking after the callout Wicklow RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Des Davitt said: ‘This was a good outcome today resulting in three people being rescued in a joint operation involving Rescue 116, Wicklow inshore lifeboat and the local Coast Guard Shore unit, who located three other children from the group on the beach.’
Wicklow RNLI were involved in a similar rescue at Silver Stand in 2014 when the lifeboat was called out to rescue a woman who had been swept into a cave after getting into difficulty swimming.
(Source. Wicklow RNLI)