Bank holiday rescue: Children saved by fresh water swimmers on Lough Neagh

Two young children on paddle boards were rescued by several women from a fresh water swimming group on Lough Neagh.

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 11:48 am

It appears the children had been caught in the wind while on paddle boards at Oxford Island on the south shore of Lough Neagh.

Members of Lough Neagh Monster Dunkers spotted the children on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon and were able to use their whistles and tow floats to bring them to safety.

Chris Judge from the Dunkers said: “Two young girls had gotten into difficulty and had drifted.

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“Nobody knew they were in trouble as they couldn’t hear the kids shouting for help.

“Two of our dunkers were standing on slipway behind Discovery Centre and noticed the kids had gotten into difficulties and just about heard them. They swam out and then blew the whistle on their tow floats, seeking more help.

“They tried to help them in but were struggling to get them in with the strong winds.

“They were blowing their whistles for help but the whistles were not being heard.

“They fought until more help arrived. More Dunkers ladies went out and helped with the rescue.

“They were able to get a team together to push the kids to safety. Jeni Lyttle, Julie Stewart, Amber Teggart, Gill Scott and Hillary Allen were able to work together and get kids pushed back to shore. The girls had a very tough swim and the kids were very shaken but thankfully the dunkers were there.

“Two Dunkers pushed a paddle board each. One from back and one pulling from front. Great team work and communication.

“The kids were brought to safety and the rescuers had a challenging swim.

“We are pushing our safety as much as we can and we tell all our swimmers to wear bright hat, tow float and have a whistle. These three things helped so much.

“Just last week six Dunkers went on a first aid course that was developed all around open water and was tailored towards open water swimming.

“We take new groups in every two weeks and safety brief them and teach them all about the safety of open water. These rescuers, who are all Dunkers, din’t even know each other but have all had the safety briefing and were able to work together to rescue the two young girls.

“The kids were a bit shaken and maybe a bit sunburnt but thank God they ok. We are very proud of the ladies,” said Chris.

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