Northern Ireland

'Frostbit Boy' Ruairí McSorley rescued among dolphins after 12 hours at sea

'Frostbit Boy' Ruairí McSorley was rescued after a pile of clothes were found at Castlegregory Beach
'Frostbit Boy' Ruairí McSorley was rescued after a pile of clothes were found at Castlegregory Beach

'FROSTBIT Boy' Ruairí McSorley has been rescued after getting into difficulty while swimming off the coast of Co Kerry.

The former viral video star was found on Sunday at around 8.30pm 12 hours after he had begun his swim. He was discovered surrounded by a pod of dolphins four kilometres from the shore of Castlegregory Beach, close to Tralee. He was described as "hypothermic".

Mr McSorley was wearing only a pair of swimming trunks, and told the lifeboat crew he had been trying to swim to Mucklaghmore Rock, an island around 8.8 kilometres from the beach.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, he said he was feeling “100% per cent” after his 12-hour ordeal.

“The only thing was my kidneys needed to readjust, so there has been no serious harm," he said.

“It was only a matter of going into the hospital to heat up a bit. Other than that, I was fine.”

The rescue effort, which involved a helicopter, began following the discovery of clothes at Castlegregory Beach, with the RNLI launching the lifeboat from their station at Fenit Harbour shortly after 12.40pm.

Mr McSorley paid tribute to those who rescued him.

“They’re very professional and very slick. They’re incredible people, I have to say. They aren’t like doctors or paramedics — paid professionals. They’re volunteers,” he said.

“They’re definitely a great group of people, there’s no doubt. They wrapped me up in the blankets and took my body temperature and everything and then just rushed me into the hospital.”

Those involved in the search were initially stood down in the afternoon after finding no sign of the swimmer, but began again at around 6pm.

Gerard O'Donnell of Fenit RNLI said the crew had been "worried" during the search as light was beginning to fade before the swimmer was spotted at around 8pm conscious in the water after crew members noticed a pod of dolphins.

Describing the swimmer as a "lucky individual" and his survival after so long in the water as a "miracle", Mr O'Donnell said the waters of the Atlantic coast can be very cold even in the summer months.

"When the lifeboat crew found them they were a good distance from the shore and were exhausted," he said.

"We would advise that anyone undertaking a swim to let people know where they are going and when they are expected back," he added.

Following the rescue, Mr McSorley was taken for treatment at University Hospital Kerry.

He first came to public attention in January with a news clip that went viral after UTV interviewed him about the perils of a recent cold snap.

The teenager, who said his mother wouldn't allow him to have the day off school, commented: “Ye wouldn’t be long getting frostbit”.