Several Newry teenagers were amongst 15 people that got in to difficulty while swimming from Magheroraty Pier in County Donegal yesterday.

The youngsters were believed to be attending the local Irish college something that is an annual long looked-forward to 'rite of passage' for many teens from the wider Newry area.

All 15 were successfully rescued by the Irish Coast Guard  with support from the Tory Island ferry Queen of Aran and Mulroy Coast Guard Unit.

Magheraroarty Pier. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
Magheraroarty Pier. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

The Malin Head Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Centre had received several emergency calls from members of the public reporting persons in difficulty off of the coast.

Ten of the children were airlifted to Letterkenny Hospital by coastguard helicopter Rescue 118.

A Coast Guard spokesperson has acknowledged that this was a very lucky outcome and thanked the public for speedily alerting the Coast Guard Rescue services. "The Helicopter crew deserve special commendation for their efficient response to a difficult challenge as do staff in Malin Head for coordinating the operation with a successful outcome."

One person remains in hospital.

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