The lifeboat operations manager at Wicklow RNLI, Mary Aldridge has issued an appeal to the public not to use inflatable devices in the sea following the dramatic rescue of two teenage girls on Sunday.
Ms Aldridge told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that the teens, who were traumatised and suffered cuts and bruises, were “two very lucky girls”.
The teens had been in the water off Silver Strand in Wicklow when they got into difficulties.
Conditions had been sunny but windy, Ms Aldridge said, and two men, who had been on the beach with their families, went to the assistance of the teenagers who had been using a large rubber ring as a float.
The men managed to drag the girls to nearby rocks where they were met by two Wicklow lifeboats, one of which was an inflatable rib.
Rescue 116 helicopter also attended the scene, from which a winchman lowered to the RNLI rib to get to the girls who were then airlifted to Dublin airport before being taken to hospital by ambulance.
Ms Aldridge said she was appealing to people not to use inflatable devices which were intended for use in a swimming pool.
“We’ve seen crocodiles, flamingos, unicorns, dinosaurs, lilos. They can be lethal.”
Even on a calm day it was all too easy to be swept out to sea, she added.
The quick action of the men on the beach had been a great help in this case, and the teens were lucky they had come to their aid, Ms Aldridge said.