By Patrick Flynn
UPDATE 4.20pm: A man, understood to be in his early 40s and from Clare, has died after he was rescued from the sea off Clare this morning.
Earlier: Swimmer in critical condition in hospital after being rescued off Clare coast
A man is in a critical condition in hospital after he got into difficulty while swimming in Co. Clare this morning.
The casualty was plucked from the sea by an Irish Coast Guard helicopter and winched onto the beach at Lahinch where efforts to resuscitate him quickly got underway.
The alarm was raised at around 10.40am after a person was reported to have disappeared beneath the surface of the water at the popular Clare resort.
It is understood that a surfer spotted the man in trouble but was unable to reach him.
The surfer returned to shore to seek further help and raise the alarm. Several others surfers then rushed into the sea and started a search for the missing man.
In the meantime, the Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter, Rescue 115, and the Doolin and Kilkee units of the Irish Coast Guard were alerted and requested to respond to the scene. The Aran Islands RNLI lifeboat was also tasked to the incident.
The helicopter crew carried out a detailed search of the area and about 15 minutes later saw the casualty in the water.
The helicopter’s winchman was lowered into the sea and quickly recovered the casualty before he was was brought ashore.
National Ambulance Service paramedics were waiting to take the man into care and began efforts to resuscitate him. It’s understood that two off-duty paramedics also offered assistance.
The man was then flown to University Hospital Limerick were he is reported to be in a critical condition.