Update: Teen escapes serious injury after fall into cave off Cork island

Picture: RNLI / Sean McCarthy.
By Eoin English
Irish Examiner Reporter

A teenager escaped serious injury after falling 30ft into a cave on an island off Cork yesterday.

The girl in her mid-teens fell into the cave on East Skeam, a small island just north of Hehir Island in Roaringwater Bay, the area of water between Schull and Baltimore in West Cork.

The alarm was raised just before 5pm with initial reports that the teenager, who it is understood was visiting the island with her family, had fallen between 20ft and 30ft into a cave on the southern side of the island.

The island has many caves, spectacular sea arches and blow holes, and is popular with daytrippers on sunny days. There is no ferry service to the island and visitors must make their own way there.

The Marine Rescue Coordination Centre at Valentia Coast Guard tasked the crew of Baltimore RNLI and the crew of the Schull coast guard inshore boat, the Shannon-based Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 115, a HSE critical care doctor and the National Ambulance Service ambulance, to the scene.

The critical care doctor and the ambulance crew arrived on Cunnamore Pier on the mainland, on standby for transfer to the island.

Rescue 115 landed on East Skeam, as the Schull Coast Guard RIB transferred two volunteer members of the Baltimore lifeboat crew, Emma Lupton and Jerry Smith, from the lifeboat to the cave.

After assessing the situation, the girl was placed on a stretcher and removed from the cave by the lifeboat and coast guard crew.

Extraction proved difficult as the cave was very narrow and there was a rising tide at the time.

The casualty was carried by stretcher to the Coast Guard helicopter which then flew her directly to Cork Airport, landing just before 7pm, for onward transfer by ambulance to Cork University Hospital.

Despite initial concerns that she had suffered multiple injuries, a medical assessment at CUH later confirmed that she escaped serious injury.

- This story was updated at 9.44pm

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