A fisherman and his son have been praised for saving the lives of two young paddleboarders who were found clinging to a lobster pot after going missing off the west coast of Ireland for 15 hours.
Patrick Oliver and his 18-year-old son, Morgan, found the pair near one of the Aran Islands, approximately 20 miles from where they were last seen.
Cousins Ellen Glynn, 17, and Sara Feeney, 23, had gone paddleboarding off Furbo beach, close to the city of Galway, around 9 p.m. on Wednesday evening.
After a strong northeasterly wind blew them out to sea and a family member who was watching lost sight of them, the lifeboat services were called, according to Mike Swan, the Galway RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager.
Swan told CNN that the crew on his lifeboat had to be changed three times throughout the night as they continued their search.
They were helped in the search-and-rescue operation by other lifeboats from the surrounding area and by three Coast Guard rescue helicopters, the lifeboat service said in a statement.
The Olivers joined the search on Thursday morning, eventually finding the paddleboarders roughly 2 miles southwest of Inis Oírr, the statement added.
The women had been clinging to the lobster pots for four or five hours by that stage, Swan said.
Speaking after she was rescued, Glynn told national broadcaster RTÉ: “We were quite sure that we were going to be found. The only thing I was worried about was just how cold we were—we were shaking like leaves.”
The cousins were taken to hospital after their ordeal. Feeney was discharged on Thursday evening and Glynn is likely to be able to go home on Saturday morning, RTÉ reported.
Describing the moment his team heard that the pair had been rescued, Swan told CNN: “We were on cloud nine. It’s the best feeling ever because the whole station was involved.”
He added that Patrick Oliver, who found the paddleboarders, and three of his brothers were all volunteers for the RNLI.
“It’s in their blood,” he said.
Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Micheál Martin was among those who praised the rescue services for their work.
“Wonderful news in Galway today highlighting the outstanding work of our rescue & voluntary services. Great community spirit shown by all,” he wrote in a tweet.
CNN Wire contributed to this report.