Two boys aged 13 and 14 were rescued last night (Wednesday 5th August) after becoming stuck in a cave near Castlerock, Co. Londonderry, reports the Maritime and Coast Guard Agency.
Coast Guard Rescue Teams from Castlerock and Ballycastle worked alongside the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118, the Portrush RNLI Inshore and all-weather lifeboats to rescue the boys. The alarm was raised at about 1720 BST after the boys had not been seen for two hours. They were rescued from the cave at Downhill beach at 2000 BST.
A crew member from the RNLI Inshore Lifeboat swam to the boys at the back of the cave through breaking waves. He pulled them in to the Inshore boat, from where they were transferred to the all-weather lifeboat and finally winched in to the helicopter. The boys are now receiving medical attention at hospital in Coleraine.
One of them was suffering from mild hypothermia while the other child was treated for shock.
Coast Guard spokesman Mark Newell said they were in "significant danger" as the cave floods when the tide comes in.
"It was a very difficult rescue as there was an incoming tide and the children were actually in the water," he said.
The cave is located in the rocks below Mussenden Temple at Downhill.
Mr Newell said sea conditions at the time were quite rough and lifeboats from Portrush were sent to the scene.
"They were finding it quite difficult to get in close, due to the swell and the waves, and the lifeboat crew had to go into the water to retrieve the boys," he said.
They were brought to hospital by a waiting helicopter.
Mr Newell said the two children, who he believes are about 13, had a lucky escape.
"If the lady hadn't reported it at that stage, we could have been dealing with something far worse," he said.
Ian Murdock. Watch Manager. said: “The boys were lucky that someone noticed that they were missing before high tide. If you are swimming or exploring the coastline it’s essential that you check the tides before you go exploring so you don’t find yourself in a similar situation.”