West Strand tragedy

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A male bodyboarder has died after he got into difficulties at West Strand in Portrush on Friday evening.

In a statement the PSNI confirmed yesterday that the deceased was 25-year-old Stephen Pentony, who is not from the Coleraine area.

Following a 999 report to Belfast Coastguard of a bodyboarder in difficulty, Coleraine Coastguard and both Portrush Lifeboats were tasked to the scene at around 6pm on Friday evening.

A paramedic Rapid Response Vehicle and Ambulance were also tasked.

The 25-year-old casualty, who had been bodyboarding in the bay, had become separated from his two friends and had been carried further out to sea.

He was located by the Inshore Lifeboat, taken on board and landed at the Lifeboat Station.

He received immediate attention from paramedics, supported by Coastguard and Lifeboat personnel.

He was then transferred by ambulance to the Causeway Hospital.

At the time of the incident there were strong rip currents in the bay.

This incident came hours after two men were rescued after getting into difficulty on a jet ski at Benone.

Coastguard personnel located the two casualties, who had managed, with some difficulty, to make their way ashore, after their jetski had broken down and drifted some distance from the shore.

They were given immediate assistance by Coastguards and Ambulance paramedics.

One man was taken to hospital. Coastguards and Lifeboat crew then recovered the jetski.

Speaking after the incidents, Coleraine Coastguard Station Officer Chris Little told The Coleraine Times: “These incidents demonstrate just how dangerous the sea can be, and how quickly it is possible to be swept out by the tide or by rip currents.

“We would urge all water users to be as well prepared as possible and to wear all appropriate safety equipment.

“If you do get into difficulty, stay with your board or craft and signal for help.

“It is also advisable to have someone on shore who is aware of your progress.”