Swimmer dies after search operation off Co Antrim coast

A helicopter at Antrim Area Hospital. Picture: McAuley Multimedia

A swimmer has died after getting into difficulty off the Antrim coast.

The woman was airlifted to hospital yesterday after being taken from the sea at Brown’s Bay on Islandmagee.

On Friday morning, police said the woman’s death was not being treated as suspicious and that a post-mortem examination would be held in due course.

Stevie Lee, RNLI press officer for the Larne lifeboat, said the vessel had been called out after reports of an overdue swimmer sparking an operation involving the RNLI and Coastguard around 5.30pm on Thursday.

“Both Larne lifeboats – a small inshore lifeboat and larger all-weather lifeboat – were launched and the casualty was spotted,” he added.

Coastguard helicopter 199 from Prestwick in Scotland was also scrambled to the scene to aid Coastguard teams from Larne, Portmuck and Ballycastle.

A paramedic was winched down from the chopper onto the Larne lifeboat and the woman then flown to Antrim Area Hospital.

The Coastguard said it was alerted to a swimmer who had been seen to enter the water 90 minutes earlier but had not been seen coming back out.

It added: “The Coastguard tasked Larne RNLI all-weather lifeboat and inshore lifeboat, Larne, Portmuck and Ballycastle Coastguard rescue teams, a Coastguard rescue helicopter and K9 search and rescue unit.

“After an extensive search of the area a person was recovered from the water by Larne lifeboat and taken to Antrim Area Hospital by the helicopter.”

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