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Dún Laoghaire rescuers say girl’s jacket helped survival

Rescuers who saved a young girl at Dún Laoghaire in south Dublin yesterday evening after she was apparently swept out to sea have said her calm demeanour in the water, as well as the jacket she was wearing, helped her to survive.

The child, who is believed to be around seven years of age, was taken to hospital to be treated for her injuries which have been described as non-life threatening.

A multi-agency rescue operation was launched after the alarm was raised at around 8.20pm.

A number of members of the public attempted to enter the water to rescue the girl before Dún Laoghaire Coast Guard, the RNLI and Rescue 116, along with a number of other emergency services, attended the scene.

One of those was 24-year-old Luke Nolan from Rathfarnham in Dublin, who described the scene as “extremely traumatic”, and outlined how he and his friends attempted to help the child after hearing a cry for help from a young girl and older man who were with the child who was swept into the water.

Luke Nolan and his friends attempted to help the girl with buoyancy aids

“Myself and my friends were just walking down Dún Laoghaire pier and we saw a girl put her hand up for help, so we approached her.

“Myself and my friend, we got in on the other side of the pier and tried to grab the girl out, but she had been swept too far away, so we got a few buoyants and tried to throw them in to help the girl but unfortunately, she was too far away.

“There’s nothing you can do, you feel helpless”

“We got the buoyants from the outside of the pier, and there was 4-5 of them and we tried to tie them all together and throw them in, but the conditions were that horrendous that we couldn’t actually get the buoyants into the water,” he said.

He added that his friend tried to get in and throw the buoyant further into the water, but in doing so was also brought in by the current.

“Little did I know he couldn’t swim,” said Mr Nolan, “so we tried to grab him in, and thank God we got him to safety.”

Mr Nolan described conditions at the time as “absolutely horrendous”, adding that it was an “extremely traumatic” experience to have gone for a walk on a Saturday evening, and then encounter what happened.

“You go for a walk on the pier of a Saturday evening and suddenly you see a girl out in the middle of the sea, she had no lifejacket, there’s nothing you can do, you feel helpless. But we tried our best to save her, and thankfully the Coast Guard were there.

“I’ve never seen anything like that, to see a young girl and to be helpless like that after trying your best … it was crazy but I’m glad the two girls are OK and my thoughts are with them at this time.”

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