Two rescued at Benone hours before Portrush tragedy

A man was hospitalised after drifting out to sea at Benone on Friday, just hours before tragedy struck elsewhere on the North Coast.

Wednesday, 21st May 2014, 4:00 pm

Two men were treated by coastguards and ambulance paramedics at Benone after struggling to shore when their jetski malfunctioned and carried them out to sea. One of the men was taken to hospital.

However, a more serious incident just three hours later, further along the North Coast in Portrush, claimed the life of a 25-year-old man who had been bodyboarding at West Bay.

The dramatic scenes began at around 3pm when coastguard rescue officers were tasked to Benone, following a 999 report of two men in difficulty on a jetski. A lifeboat and ambulance were also tasked. On arrival, coastguard personnel located the two men, who had managed, with some difficulty, to make their way ashore. They were given immediate assistance by coastguards and ambulance paramedics. One man was taken to hospital.

Events were to take a tragic twist later in the day in a more serious incident in Portrush.

At around 6pm, following a 999 report to Belfast Coastguard of a bodyboarder in difficulty, Coleraine coastguard and both Portrush lifeboats were tasked to West Bay in the seaside town.

A 25-year-old who had been bodyboarding in the bay had become separated from his two friends and carried further out to sea. He was located by the inshore lifeboat, taken on board and landed at the lifeboat station, where he received immediate attention from paramedics, supported by coastguard and lifeboat personnel. He was transferred by ambulance to the Causeway Hospital but he later died.

At the time of the incident there were strong rip currents in the bay.

The man, who was not from the area, has been named as Stephen Pentony.

Speaking after the incident, Coleraine Coastguard Station Officer Chris Little warned of the dangers of rip currents: “These incidents demonstrate just how dangerous the sea can be, and how quickly it is possible to be swept out by the tide or by rip currents. We would urge all water users to be as well prepared as possible and to wear all appropriate safety equipment. If you do get into difficulty, stay with your board or craft and signal for help- it is also advisable to have someone on shore who is aware of your progress.”