Updated: 17/07/17 : 05:33:52
A group of GAA footballers got into difficulty at the weekend in Bundoran, Co Donegal, after they entered the water at Tullan Strand on the Sligo border to cool down following a training session.Concerned onlookers called the Coast Guard when the strong currents at Tullan began to carry a number of the Fermanagh GAA minor team and one of their management out to sea and into the rocks.
It was close to the area where 28-year-old Irish Army soldier Gavin Carey drowned in August last year.The Sligo-based Rescue 118 helicopter and the RNLI lifeboat from Bundoran attended the scene.
The mid-day rescue on Saturday happened after members of the Fermanagh players finished a training stint on the beach.Cool down
Garda Supt Colm Nevin said they went into the water to cool down after their exercise.He said: “They were only in the sea up to their knee and they were suddenly swept out by an underwater rip current.
“Bundoran lifeboat and Rescue helicopter 118 from Sligo were alerted. Meanwhile local surfers went to the youngsters’ aid and and helped the footballers to safety. They were then brought to the hospital in Sligo for a check-up.”
The drama lasted about 20 minutes.
The lifeboat crew attended to eight of the players, some of whom were bruised and some who had swallowed sea water before ambulances arrived.
A number of the casualties were taken to Sligo University Hospital as a precaution.
Following the incident, James Cassidy of the Bundoran RNLI said: "We would remind locals and visitors alike that Tullan Strand and particularly the area along the cliffs is notorious for rip currents and under currents and is really not suitable for swimming.
"Rips are strong currents running out to sea which can catch even the most experienced beach-goers out."Bundoran's main beach is supervised by lifeguards all summer long and provides the best option for safe, supervised swimming during the summer period.
"Should you get caught in a rip, the best advice is to stay calm and don't panic. Swim parallel to the beach until free of the rip, then make for shore," said James Cassidy.
There are no lifeguards on Tullan.
Further sea safety advice can be found on www.respectthewater.com