Children rescued after being swept out to sea in Ballycastle

Three young children were rescued off the coast of Ballycastle on Wednesday after being spotted by a member of the public.

After receiving multiple 999 calls just after 7.30pm, the coastguard put in place a major search and rescue operation involving both Portrush Lifeboats, the PSNI, the Ambulance Service and a helicopter from Prestwick.

Three young children were rescued off the coast of Ballycastle on Wednesday after being spotted by a member of the public.

Three young children were rescued off the coast of Ballycastle on Wednesday after being spotted by a member of the public.

The three young children who are understood to be from Ballycastle and aged 10, 11 and 12 were recovered safe and well after they were rescued by a local man on the scene.

They were said to be cold and shaken after the ordeal which lasted around an hour and were all taken to the Causeway Hospital were they were reported to be in a stable condition.

The hero of the hour was Nat Hunter, from Ballyvoy just outside Ballycastle who spotted saw the two girls and a boy when he was walking on the beach with his wife Amy.

“We saw the children playing in the mouth of the river where it meets the sea,” said Mr Hunter. “But when we came back they had got caught up in the current of the river and been pushed out to sea.

“They had started to panic and get stressed.

“I grabbed the buoyancy aid with the long tether on it and started making my way into the water. I threw the ring out to the child who was furthest away, about 50m out.”

Mr Hunter was helped by another man to bring the children to safety.

The coastguard spokesperson said the current had dragged the children from the shallow waters of the beach, adding the rescue was “Fairly extensive and could have got out of hand easily.”

Praising those who reported the incident she added: “They were all very informative and very helpful and efficient. If it wasn’t for all those people this could have been a whole lot worse.”

The coastguard urged people to be vigilant in the summer waters saying currents could be deceptive and the sea very dangerous.

“Tides can turn very quickly, we’d urge parents to advised children of the dangers of the beach”.