Northern Ireland news

Woman dies after getting into difficulty while swimming in Co Down sea

The NI Ambulance Service, coastguard and the RNLI were called to the beach shortly before midday

A WOMAN died yesterday after getting into difficulty while swimming in the sea in Co Down.

The victim's body was recovered close to rocks near Skippingstone Beach, but she was declared dead at the scene.

The NI Ambulance Service, coastguard and the RNLI were called to the beach shortly before midday. The charity air ambulance was also tasked.

Bangor RNLI said there were "poor" weather conditions at the time, including strong winds and a two metre swell.

The BBC reported that when the crew arrived they saw a coastguard member with the casualty but the "proximity of the rocks combined with the weather, made it challenging to get too close".

Two RNLI crew members jumped into the water with safety lines attached to them to help with the rescue.

The woman was recovered from the water but died at the scene.

Police said a post-mortem would be carried out, but the woman's death was not being treated as suspicious.

Stephen Farry, Alliance MP for North Down, wrote on Twitter: "Along with the whole community in Bangor, I pass on my sympathy to this woman's family and friends.

"Thanks to our emergency services for all tried to do in this situation."

DUP assembly member Gordon Dunne also wrote: "Tragic news that a swimmer has passed away after getting into difficulty in Bangor.

"Thoughts and prayers to her family and friends.

"Swimming in these areas is a very popular leisure activity and this tragedy is a sad reminder to us all of the dangers of our sea and coastal areas."

Green Party MLA Rachel Woods said: "I would like to extend my sympathies to the family and friends of the person who sadly lost her life. This lady went out today to enjoy the outdoors and the most terrible outcome came to pass.

"I expect an investigation will take place in due course and a full picture will emerge around the circumstances surrounding this sudden death.

"For now, the focus is on the tragedy of a life lost and the people left behind."

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