Teenager stranded at bottom of 100ft cliff in Castlerock, Co Derry carried to safety by coastguard
COASTGUARDS have been praised for averting "tragedy" after a dramatic rescue of a teenager stranded at the bottom of a 100ft Co Derry cliff who was suffering hypothermia after a failed attempt at swimming to safety.
The girl and her friend were both stranded after trying to cross the rocks towards Castlerock beach along with two teenage boys on Monday evening.
The boys escaped with just lacerations, while one of the girls managed to raise the alarm after swimming to safety and asking for help at an apartment near the beach.
The remaining girl also attempted the swim before being forced to turn back and take shelter on a rocky outcrop 100 feet below a popular caravan park.
Coleraine Coastguard Rescue Team, Ballycastle Coastguard Team, both Portrush Lifeboats and the RNLI Lifeguards in the area were all sent to the scene and managed to locate the stranded teenager at around 6.20pm.
By this stage, the girl was "hypothermic, distressed and exhausted from having tried to swim to safety", coastguard said.
"She had also sustained a number of abrasions from making contact with the rocks. Although the spring tide was rising rapidly, her condition made a rescue by sea very difficult."
A lifeguard and one crew member from the Inshore Lifeboat landed on the rocks and a decision was taken to carry out a Coastguard Rope Rescue.
A coastguard `rope rescue technician' descended the cliff and carried her to safety, "just as the waves broke over the rocky platform where she had sought refuge", according to coastguard.
At the cliff top she was given first aid by the Coastguard Team and a nurse who had volunteered her services before being reunited with her family.
Both girls were taken to hospital by ambulance, as a precaution.
"Thanks to the speed with which the alarm was raised, the coordinated response of a large number of Coastguard, RNLI and NIAS personnel, and the assistance of members of the public, a tragedy was averted," a coastguard spokesman said.
He added: "Please do not attempt to cross rocks. If you do find yourself cut off by the tide, or see someone else in difficulties, always dial 999 and ask for the coastguard."
Sinn Féin East Derry assembly member, Caoimhe Archibald, praised their work which ensured "a tragedy" was avoided.
“I would urge everyone, especially in the good weather to take care when visiting the north coast. There are several beaches that need particular care given the accessibility and the rate at which conditions, including the tide, may change and catch people out," she said.