#Coastguard - The actions of a helicopter winchman during an incident in which a 14-year-old girl rescued from the sea fell back into the water have been found to be “sound” by an official investigation.
Aoife Winterlich died in hospital days after she and three other venture scouts were swept into the sea off Hook Head during an outing on 6 December 2015, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
Two managed to swim to shore but Winterlich got in difficulty amid heavy seas, and the fourth youth, a 15-year-old boy, remained to keep her afloat till the Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117 arrived.
Severe conditions prompted the winchman to lift both teenagers from the water at the same time. As the three reached the helicopter, Winterlich slipped from her strop some 45 feet back into the water.
Records show that the winchman was back in the water to retrieve Winterlich just half a minute after reporting her fall, according to the Air Accident Investigation Unit Report as covered in The Irish Times.
Tragically, however, she died four days later at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.
“In the circumstances of this particular rescue, there is nothing to suggest that the winchman’s decision-making was anything other than sound,” the report said.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.