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RNLI lifeguards rescue swimmer swept out to sea on lilo off Cranfield Beach

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI lifeguards have rescued a swimmer who got into difficulty off the County Down coast this afternoon (Wednesday 9 August).


Cranfield Beach

The lifeguards based at Cranfield Beach were alerted at 3.40pm by Belfast Coastguard that a swimmer was in distress in the sea near the Sandilands Holiday Park.

The alarm was raised by friends on the beach after the swimmer who was using an inflatable lilo was swept 300m out to sea by an offshore wind.

Weather conditions were otherwise described as good with clear and sunny skies.

Lifeguard Danielle Rafferty controlled communications as senior lifeguard Peter Kinkaid and lifeguard Richard Cleave immediately launched the RNLI’s Rescue Water Craft and made their way to the scene.

On route to the casualty the lifeguards observed a canoeist waving his hand in the air. The casualty, who was thought to be in the water for 45 minutes, and struggling for 20 minutes, was found clinging to the canoe.

He was extremely cold, shivering and showing signs of hypothermia.

The lifeguards immediately took the swimmer, put him on the rescue water craft and brought him back to Cranfield Beach where they began to administer casualty care. The lifeguards worked with the local Kilkeel Coastguard team to ensure the casualty was kept warm until he was transferred into the care of an ambulance crew.

Speaking following the call out, RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor Jason Nugent said: ‘We would like to wish the casualty a speedy recovery after what must have been a frightening experience for him today. We would also like to commend the casualty’s friends for raising the alarm and the canoeist who stayed with him until the lifeguards arrived on scene.

‘Today’s rescue was a good example of the various emergency services working well together to bring someone to safety and we would like to thank our colleagues in the Coastguard and ambulance service.

‘We would remind anyone planning a trip to the beach to always swim between the red and yellow flags on a lifeguarded beach. We would ask the public to also remember that inflatables such as lilos are designed for pools and not the open sea where they can be easily swept out by offshore winds and lead you into difficulty. Never swim alone and if you do see someone in trouble dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’


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For more information please contact Nuala McAloon, RNLI Press Officer on 0876483547, email or Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager Ireland on 00 353 87 1254 124 or

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland