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Fantastic five - teen heroes save dad rescuing son swept out to sea

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Teenagers Richard McSweeney, Jamie Venner, Cillian Foster, Kate Horgan and Harry Pritchard, who helped save the day

Teenagers Richard McSweeney, Jamie Venner, Cillian Foster, Kate Horgan and Harry Pritchard, who helped save the day

Teenagers Richard McSweeney, Jamie Venner, Cillian Foster, Kate Horgan and Harry Pritchard, who helped save the day

Five heroic teenagers helped save a father and son when an inflatable device was swept out to sea in White Bay off the Cork coast.

A father was left clinging to a moored channel buoy after he desperately tried to swim out to save his nine-year-old son.

The boy had been on the inflatable device when it was caught by a strong current and swept out to sea from Fountainstown at about 8pm on Sunday.

After tiring while trying to reach his son, the man was forced to cling to the buoy to save himself.

A family on the beach raised the alarm after hearing his desperate calls for help.

The boy was brought safely ashore by expert canoeist Paddy Quinlan who was alerted to the ongoing rescue.

"They were both under a bit of pressure - they were clinging to a mooring with a lilo keeping them afloat," he said.

"I brought the young lad in first - he was the coldest and he just needed to be ashore.

"Then I went back out for the dad. He was pretty tired but some lads that were out wake-boarding brought him in."

Drama

It was the fifth rescue involving an inflatable device being swept out to sea in the past four weeks.

Five 16-year-olds - Richard McSweeney, Jamie Venner, Cillian Foster, Kate Horgan and Harry Pritchard - were fishing on a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) off Roches Point when they became aware of the drama.

The teens had a marine VHF radio on their RIB and were monitoring the emergency alert channel.

They immediately raced to the area and reached the man clinging to the buoy before rescue services arrived at the scene.

All five helped him into the RIB. One of the teens, Richard McSweeney, said their response to the incident was underpinned by strict training in marine safety.

"From when the (emergency) call went out to when we reached the scene, I think the man was clinging onto the buoy for about 20 minutes," he said.

"That is not counting the time that he spent swimming out.

"We have plenty of experience of water and water safety - we all had life jackets, we had VHF [radio] and we knew what to do.

"We are just glad it worked out OK and everyone was safe," he added.

The life-saving skills of the brave teens came as no surprise to the Crosshaven RNLI lifeboat that raced to the scene - helmsman Ian Venner is the father of one of the heroic teens, Jamie.

Cillian Foster is a brother of RNLI volunteer Caoimhe Foster and Richard McSweeney is a son of a former RNLI volunteer.

Thanks to the teens' quick- thinking, both father and son were uninjured. Crosshaven RNLI said the teens' actions were a credit to all who underwent life-saving courses.

"They showed remarkable presence of mind and deserve enormous credit," an RNLI official said.