Northern Ireland

Ballycastle: Children stable after being swept out to sea

Child being carried Image copyright Kevin McAuley
Image caption The Coastguard said the children were wearing armbands when they entered the water

Three children have been rescued from the water in Ballycastle, County Antrim, after being spotted by a member of the public.

The Coastguard said the boy and two girls were paddling in a small river when they lost their footing and got swept out into the sea.

The children are believed to be from Ballycastle and aged 10, 11 and 12.

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Media captionChildren rescued from Ballycastle beach

Nat Hunter, from Ballyvoy, was walking on the beach with his wife when he saw the children in the water.

Mr Hunter told BBC News NI: "We saw the children playing in the mouth of the river where it meets the sea.

Image copyright Kevin McAuley
Image caption The Coastguard were called at about 20:30 BST

"But when we came back they had got caught up in the current of the river and been pushed out to sea.

"They had started to panic and get stressed out, so I went to get the buoyancy aid up on the beach and went out to them.

"I threw the ring out to the child who was furthest away, about 50m out.

Image caption The children, who were playing on inflatables, were swept about 50m out to sea

"It was two little girls and a boy."

Mr Hunter was helped by another man to bring the children to safety.

Image copyright NAT HUNTER
Image caption Nat Hunter was walking with his wife on the beach when he spotted the children in the water

"When we left the coastguard was with them and the ambulance had just arrived," he said.

"I think they were alright, but they are bound to have been freezing and a bit shook up."

The Coastguard said they were called by a member of the public at about 20:30 BST on Wednesday.

Image copyright Kevin McAuley
Image caption The children are said to be cold and shaken

"The current was strong and would have taken them out," said a spokesperson.

The children were all taken to the Causeway Hospital, but have now been discharged.