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Missing windsurfer in Kerry came ashore in Clare during major search operation

Fenit and Kilrush RNLI were involved in a major multi-agency search and rescue operation last night for a windsurfer who was missing at sea for seven hours.

The alarm had been raised after the windsurfer, who was last seen at approximately 4pm off the Ballybunion coast in Co Kerry, had not returned to shore.

Fenit RNLI was requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat at 5.34pm yesterday evening following initial reports from the Irish Coast Guard that there was a person reported overdue.

The search continued until approximately 11pm when news came that the windsurfer had managed to make it ashore and raise the alarm with a member of the public.

He was subsequently transferred by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick.

The windsurfer had managed to travel by sea the 25 nautical miles from Ballybunion in Co Kerry to Kilkee in Co Clare.

"This is such good news this morning and we are delighted that after the windsurfer was missing for so long yesterday evening, that this man is alive," said Charlie Glynn, Kilrush RNLI crew member and lifeboat press officer.

"While we don’t have the details from the casualty’s perspective, he had to have been an experienced windsurfer who was wearing the correct clothing and gear and who knew what to do when he got into difficulty.

He stayed with his board and managed somehow to travel the long distance to shore.

"All in the RNLI wish him well for a full and speedy recovery following what must have been a frightening experience for him.

"We would remind everyone taking to the sea to always respect the water. Always carry a means for calling for help, such as a personal locator beacon, especially if you are on your own, it could be a lifesaver.

"Always tell someone you are going out and when you will be back. Make sure they know where you are sailing and who to call if you are not back in time."

Digital Desk