bb– A lifeboat crew in County Kerry used “every part of their training” to rescue a swimmer lost at sea for nearly 12 hours.
The man, believed to be in his 30s and from County Londonderry, was pulled from the water at 20.30 local time on Sunday.
He was spotted floating among a pod of dolphins 2.5 miles (4km) off Castlegregory Beach, near Tralee.
He was found hypothermic and exhausted, wearing only a pair of swimming trunks.
He told rescuers he had been trying to swim to Mucklaghmore Rock, more than 5.5 miles (8.8km) from the beach.
He was taken to University Hospital Kerry where he is said to be recovering well.
The RNLI at Fenit received a call at 12.40 local time following the discovery of clothes on a beach.
Two lifeboat crews were joined by a helicopter during the search.
Volunteer lifeboat coxswain Finbarr O’Connell and his crew used their knowledge of the local tide patterns to find the missing swimmer.
‘A very lucky individual’
Gerard O’Donnell, of Fenit RNLI, said rescuers were “overjoyed” when they spotted the man.
“They had been scanning the water for any sign of movement and were worried with light fading that they would not find anyone,” he said.
Mr O’Donnell said the water on Ireland’s Atlantic coast can be very cold, even during summer.
“We would advise that anyone undertaking a swim to let people know where they are going and when they are expected back,” he said.
“This was a very lucky individual.”
Jackie Murphy, an RNLI volunteer, said the man had spoken to his rescuers to thank them.
Ms Murphy said it was a “miracle” the man had survived the ordeal.
She said the rescue crew was “very experienced” and used “every part of their training” in the operation.