Two missing paddle boarders found clinging to lobster pot by fisherman

RNLI Ireland was part of the extensive search and rescue mission. Credit: PA Images

A woman and teenage girl who were reported missing after going paddle boarding off the coast of Ireland were found clinging to a lobster pot by a fisherman.

The pair, aged 17 and 23, were found on Thursday in Galway Bay after spending 15 hours at sea. They had drifted almost 20 miles from where they had originally set off.

The two had gone paddle boarding at round 9pm on Wednesday night from Furbo Beach when a sudden north wind blew them out to sea.

A relative of the women raised the alarm and the Irish Coast Guard launched a search and rescue operation which continued throughout overnight.

Fisherman Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan joined the search early on Thursday morning. They discovered the two women on their boards holding onto a lobster pot about two miles south-west of the Inis Oir island.

Both casualties were taken to Galway University hospital. They were found to be in 'good spirits' but 'somewhat shaken' after their ordeal. Barry Heskin, Galway RNLI's Deputy Launching Authority said the two women did the right thing. "We are absolutely delighted that it has all worked out well", he said.

A lobster pot similar to that which the two women were found holding on to. Credit: PA

The RNLI added that there were scenes of jubilation and joy when Mr Oliver rang them with news of his discovery.  

Galway RNLI were joined by the Aran Island RNLI, the Irish Coast Guard, the Civil Defence and the Irish police force. Aircraft from Galway Flying Club and Aer Arann also helped with the search.  

The Irish Coast Guard said of the women: "Their survival is a testament to their quick thinking in attaching themselves to the lobster pot and also to their strong mental resolve to survive.”