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Inishowen rescue: Fisherman found clinging to lobster buoy

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Media captionA helicopter and lifeboats were sent to bring the man ashore

A fisherman has been rescued from the sea off the coast of County Donegal after his cries for help were heard by a farmer on land.

The fisherman was found clinging to the buoy of a lobster pot after getting into difficulties in Tullagh Bay, near Clonmany on the Inishowen Peninsula.

A farmer near the shoreline heard the man's cries and raised the alarm.

A spokesperson for Lough Swilly Lifeboat said the man was "exceptionally lucky" to be alive.

'Pure luck'

The fisherman is in a stable condition at Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry.

John Grant, 23, from Clonmany, was out tending his sheep at Tullagh Bay with his mother when he heard a cry for help in the distance.

"We were working at the back of the house so weren't too sure what we heard," said Mr Grant.

Image copyright RNLI/Lough Swilly
Image caption A helicopter was deployed during the search and rescue operation

"I pulled up on the beach on my quad. I really thought I could hear someone shouting for help. so I thought I would double check.

"In the distance I could see someone waving their hand.

"It was pure luck. On another day I maybe wouldn't have heard a thing.

"We are happy that the man is OK. We were at the right place at the right time. We could've been 10 feet to the left or right and not heard a thing."

'Unbelievable'

Joe Joyce of Lough Swilly lifeboat station said: "Thanks to those people on the shore, that man will probably be walking around today."

Two lifeboats, a rescue helicopter and a coastguard rescue boat were scrambled to the area after the man was discovered at about 13:50 BST on Sunday.

A local fishing vessel rescued him from the water.

Mr Joyce said the man was about half a mile from the shore and it was "unbelievable" that his voice carried to land.

"He's very, very lucky because there were other people walking on the beach and they didn't hear a thing."

Mr Joyce said there was no sign of the man's boat.

"We've done a preliminary search in the area, but we haven't discovered anything so we believe it has sunk."

He added: "He was also very lucky he was wearing a life jacket."

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