A woman and teenage girl who were reported missing after going paddle boarding in Galway Bay, Ireland, have been found alive 17 miles away from where they were last seen.
The paddle boarders, aged 17 and 23, were found clinging to a lobster pot by a local fisherman and his son near Inisheer island. They are believed to have survived more than 15 hours after being blown out to sea.
The fisherman who located them, named locally as Patrick Oliver, said they were “very shook, but thankful” when they were brought on board his fishing vessel.
According to Barry Heskin of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI), the two women were wearing buoyancy aids, but not wetsuits. The sea temperature was 15 degrees, considered warm but still cold enough to be detrimental.
Speaking to RTÉ's News at One, Mr Heskin said "It is a truly fantastic result," adding that those involved in the search had battled rain, wind and thunder to help in the operation.
“The amount of people on the water is absolutely phenomenal and is testament to the people of north Clare and Galway Bay that we ended up with this result.”
Divisional Controller at Valentia Coastguard John Draper said that the fact they were keeping afloat on their paddle boards was a factor in their survival: “It could have been a different story if they had been immersed in water all night.”
The alarm was raised at approximately 10pm last night after they failed to return.
The two women are reportedly from the Knocknacarra area of Galway city.