‘Nobody could hear us scream,’ says teenager rescued after 15 hours at sea

Ellen Glynn, 17, was rescued after 15 hours at sea. Credit: PA

One of the two young women found clinging to lobster pots after 15 hours at sea said nobody could hear their screams for help.

Cousins Sara Feeney, 23, and Ellen Glynn, 17, were reported missing off the coast of the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday evening.

They were found on Thursday clinging to lobster pots, 16 miles (27km) from where they had initially set off paddle boarding on Furbo beach, by local fisherman Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan.

Ellen said the pair got caught by surprise by the weather and were swept from the route they wanted to take.

“I go out paddle boarding a lot but Sara had not really been out much before but we had been out two nights in a row together so we knew when we set out on Thursday that it would not be dark,” she said.

“We went out a bit further as there were people swimming near us but then the wind came quickly behind us and we didn’t notice how far it took us."

The women were found clinging to lobster pots.

“The wind got really strong and the waves got really strong all very quickly so we kind of just knew we weren’t going to get back in,” she told RTE radio.

“Straight away, we just tied the two paddle boards together so we could keep together.

“We tried to paddle in but the waves just got really strong.”

The wind came quickly behind us and we didn’t notice how far it took us.

Ellen Glynn

“We started to try and paddle back when we realised how far we were from the shore but it was just that the wind had picked up very quickly and the waves had gotten too strong,” she said.

“We kind of figured that we wouldn’t be able to get back to the shore so we started screaming in the hope that someone would hear us and come for help.

“The wind was just so strong that nobody could hear us screaming.

“We could see there were people on the beach but nobody could hear us scream, we were fairly far out.”

Ellen said she decided to tie their two paddle boards together.

“I just figured it would be a lot more difficult if we ended up being blown away separately.”

She said they were aware of the danger they were in but decided to stay calm.

“At first, we realised how deep the water was so we got a little bit panicky but we just said there was no point in panicking.

“We just said we should stay positive and everything will be fine.

“There were heavy winds and thunder and lightning.

“We were absolutely frozen and really scared.

“I think we were quite sure we would be found.

“We were worried about how cold we were as we were just shaking like leaves and frozen,” she said.

She said they used a strap on one of the paddle boards to connect it to the other one and we even able to take turns sleeping.

“We tied the paddle boards onto the life buoys connected to a lobster pot so we could stay where we were in the water.

“We were so tired we took turns going to sleep on the paddle boards in the water.”

“In hindsight it seems so weird but we really did just stay so calm.

“We just really stayed calm.

“We maybe didn’t realise the height of the danger we were in but we stayed calm.”

She paid tribute to the rescue and search teams and the fishermen who found them. The father and son were applauded by local people and the coast guard teams after the rescue.

"We had not seen a single boat all day and we saw a helicopter in the distance but it did not come for us," Ellen said.

“Then out in the distance, we saw a boat and we started waving our paddles like crazy. It was Patrick and Morgan Oliver coming to save us.

“I didn’t know they were looking for us, I just thought they were out fishing.”

“I honestly don’t know how to thank them.

“We are so, so grateful.

“I have no idea what would have happened to us if they had not have found us.”

She said her legs collapsed from under her when she was rescued and was treated for dehydration.

Her cousin was released from hospital in Co Galway on Thursday night. Ellen said she hopes to get out of hospital on Friday night or Saturday morning at the earliest.

Ellen’s father Johnny Glynn said he was relieved the women were able to stick together and stay calm throughout the ordeal.

Mr Glynn said: “We knew yesterday that we only really had from first light, which is 5am, until 9pm last night.

“You know, it’s the worst-case scenario after that.”

Throughout the whole thing, I just hoped that they were still together

Johnny Glynn, father

“Throughout the whole thing, I just hoped that they were still together," he added.

“Ellen told me in the hospital last night that they tied the paddle boards together.

“I don’t know how they did that or what they did it with but they tied them together and that was really the best thing they did."

“Can you imagine being on your own compared to having a companion with you and to go through that alone,” he added.

Mr Glynn said he would be “forever grateful” to Patrick and Morgan Oliver for rescuing the women.