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One of the Galway paddleboarders has detailed how they survived their night in the water

By James Fenton

August 14, 2020 at 12:08pm

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The Galway paddleboarders are recovering today after being found at sea yesterday 17 miles from their starting point at Furbo Beach in Galway.

An alarm was raised at around 10pm on Wednesday when Ellen Glynn (17) and Sara Feeney (23) failed to return to shore after setting off on paddleboards. A major search operation took place involving the coastguard, lifeboats and hundreds of volunteers before worried family members got word around noon that the girls were found safe and well.

Local fisherman Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan found the pair clinging to lobster pots, much to the jubilation of all who had helped in the search. After 24 hours of recovery, Ellen remains in hospital but she has taken some time this morning to speak with Sarah McInerney on RTE Radio One.

Ellen gave details of herself and her cousin's ordeal throughout the night on the water, saying: "The wind was so strong nobody could hear us scream." She added that "we said there's no point in panicking, just stay positive and everything will be fine."

She also described how they tied their paddleboards to a buoy and took turns sleeping because they were so exhausted. She said that "we were lying back, and we were just so cold, trying to stay awake but we'd fall asleep every so often just for a few seconds."

As the hours ticked past, they lost track of time and couldn't see any boats initially and thought no one was looking for them. With their human adversity being tested to the limits, Ellen and Sara refused to panic, as Ellen explained: "In hindsight, it sounds so weird, but we really did just stay so calm."

She also added how thankful she was that Patrick and Morgan found them and how the men took care of them when the girls boarded their boat, giving them water and making sure they were warm.

You can hear a snippet of the Ellen's interview on RTE Radio One below...

A truly heroic tale of survival and Ellen and Sara will no doubt never forget the night they spent on the water in August 2020. It was a huge effort by all who were involved in the search and it's great to have such a happy ending.

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