Northern Ireland

Bangor lifeboat crew rescues man from Ballyholme Bay

James Gillespie and Mark Pollack Image copyright Bangor RNLI
Image caption RNLI crew member James Gillespie with council employee Mark Pollack, who raised the alarm

A man has been rescued from the sea 200 metres off the coast at Ballyholme Bay, near Bangor, after a man working nearby heard shouts and called the Coastguard.

The man, who was in his 20s, was rescued by a volunteer crew from Bangor RNLI.

He is in a stable condition in hospital.

The lifeboat's operations manager said medical personnel told him the man could have died if he had remained in the water for another five minutes.

The alarm was raised by Mark Pollock, who was working in Banks Car Park.

Hearing faint shouts, he initially thought it was someone calling for their dog, but kept looking until he realised there was someone in the sea.

He then called the Coastguard.

Bangor RNLI's helmsman James Gillespie said when they arrived "the early morning light made it difficult to see, but fortunately the water was flat calm, and on scanning the area I saw a slight movement as the casualty raised his hand".

Another crew member, Johnny Gedge, entered and helped the man, who was only just conscious, until he could be lifted on board.

Image copyright Bangor RNLI
Image caption The rescued man was taken to hospital by ambulance

Mr Gillespie said: "Our extensive training in casualty care is invaluable at a time like this.

"Because of this, we know the importance of not trying to warm the patient too quickly, as this can cause cardiac arrest.

"Instead, we made the patient safe, and prevented further cooling, and returned as quickly and safely as we could to the lifeboat station where an ambulance and paramedics were waiting to take over."

The rescued man was wearing only tracksuit bottoms, a t-shirt and socks. It is not clear why he was in the water.

"I am just delighted that I heard his calls, and hope he makes a full recovery," Mr Pollock said.