TWO schoolboys were rushed to hospital after plunging 25ft onto a stoney beach.
Cian O'Rourke (13) is feared to have suffered spinal injuries in the fall, while his friend Cormac Sheehan (13) had to be air-lifted off rocks near a coastal walkway in Greystones.
A major rescue operation swung into action after locals found the teenagers seriously injured on the beach yesterday.
The Herald understands Cian fell down rocks and Cormac got into difficulty while bravely trying to help him.
Rescuers managed to bring Cian back to the roadway on a spinal board and he was transferred to Tallaght Hospital by ambulance. As there was only one ambulance available Cormac had to be winched to a helicopter and airlifted to Dublin Airport, where an ambulance waited.
"Conditions were freezing, with very low temperatures and driving rain being made worse by winds and slippery conditions on the rocks," a Garda spokesperson said.
"The injured youths were both conscious when they were brought to safety but required hospital treatment," she added.
Coastguard units, including the Dublin-based helicopter and the Greystones team, were assisted in the rescue operation by Dublin Fire Brigade and the HSE ambulance service.
The rescue mission, close to the old La Touche Hotel, lasted more than an hour, with the first calls to the emergency services made by witnesses at 3pm.
Cian was being treated for suspected spinal injuries and hypothermia, while Cormac was treated for hypothermia. Both are from the Greystones area.
In a separate incident, two hillwalkers who got into difficulties while climbing Lugnaquilla mountain in Co Wicklow had to be rescued from an army firing range in the Glen of Imaal.
The two walkers got into difficulty when the weather deteriorated and they experienced white-out conditions.
"On descending the mountain and finding their bearings when the weather cleared they found themselves in an area called White Rock in the Impact Zone," said a spokesperson for Dublin and Wicklow Mountain Rescue, based in Roundwood.
In Waterford the Coastguard was involved in a rescue operation when a woman out walking in the Commeragh Mountains with a friend suffered a suspected broken ankle in a fall.
The incident happened near Coumshingaun Lake at around 4pm.