A young woman and a teenage girl who went missing while paddleboarding off Galway on Wednesday evening have been found alive after spending more than 15 hours in the water.
The 23-year-old woman and 17-year-old cousins were found by local fishermen who found them clinging to a lobster pot around three miles off Inisheer in the Aran Islands.
The two missing paddleboarders were wearing buoyancy aids and sea conditions were reportedly calm at the time of the rescue.
Both survivors received emergency treatment before they were transferred to University Hospital Galway.
Two Missing Paddle Boarders located and being transferred to the care of the HSE, search is now standing down, thank you to everyone that assisted in this SAR operation.— Irish Coast Guard (@IrishCoastGuard) August 13, 2020
The two cousins set out from Furbo Beach in Connemara at around 8 p.m. on Wednesday. They were feared missing when they hadn't returned to shore by 10 p.m.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) Aran Island, Galway Lifeboats, the Irish Coast Guard, and the Doolin Coast Guard had been searching Galway Bay through the night for the missing cousins, while a team of volunteers also searched the coastline for any sign of the missing paddleboarders.
The rescue services had to battle a thunderstorm that hit Galway overnight, lashing Ireland's west coast with wind and rain.
Conditions were, fortunately, calm on Thursday morning, enabling local fishermen to spot the stranded cousins and help them to safety.
The father of one of the missing cousins reportedly wept when he heard the news and ran towards a group of friends who were awaiting news on Furbo Beach.
"They are alive," he told the waiting crowd, according to the Irish Independent.
Barry Heskin of the RNLI told RTÉ News that RNLI staff were "jumping around the station" when they heard the news of the safe recovery.
"It's a truly fantastic result," he said.