An extensive air and sea search is underway in Galway Bay after two young women who set out on stand-up paddleboards from Furbo last evening failed to return to shore.
The two women are aged 17 and 23 and from Galway, are believed to have left Furbo beach at around 8 pm on Wednesday.
The alarm was raised at 9 pm when they had not returned.
The women were wearing buoyancy aids, but not wetsuits. Sea conditions were calm but with an offshore north-westerly breeze.
The RNLI Aran island and Galway lifeboats, the Irish Coast Guard’s Shannon and Sligo-based helicopters and Doolin and Costello Coast Guards have been searching throughout the night for the two women, while local volunteers have also been combing the coastline.
Galway RNLI operations manager Mike Swan said that lifeboat crews combed the sea area throughout the night.
“The search area had focused on the inner Galway bay area and had extended west to Black Head,” he said.
Salthill Garda station is coordinating the search, working with the Irish Coast Guard and RNLI, and a meeting took place in Spiddal this morning.
The Marine Institute based in Oranmore has launched its rigid inflatable, along with a number of local craft, and the institute’s ocean sciences staff are also working on the tide and current modelling to assist the search crews.
Residents living close to the coast from Barna west to Spiddal have been asked to check the shoreline near their homes.
Update 11 am Thursday, August 13
Statement from the Irish Coast Guard on search operation for two missing females
The Irish Coast Guard Coordination centre at Valentia are currently coordinating an extensive search of Galway Bay after two females aged 17 and 23 who were paddleboarding at the time were reported overdue last night at 10:05 pm just off Furbough, Co. Galway. All available Air and Marine Rescue assets are currently being utilised in the search and the Coast Guard are liaising with An Garda Siochana at Salthill in an effort to locate the two missing females. Any sightings or information should be reported to the Coast Guard at MRSC Valentia on 112 or 999.