A major search effort is concluding after a man was rescued from a sea cave in north Mayo this afternoon.

The 40-year-old spent almost 22 hours on a ledge in a cave at Downpatrick Head, after being swept into the area during high tide last evening.

Since the alarm was raised just before 6pm yesterday, a major search and rescue operation has been under way.

This afternoon, rescue workers brought him to the mouth of the cave where he was given an initial assessment.

He is said to be in fairly good spirits considering his ordeal.

It is understood the man is being fitted with a buoyancy suit, prior to being transferred to a boat, so that he can be airlifted by the Sligo-based Rescue Coast Guard helicopter.

It is expected he will be brought to hospital for further medical checks this evening.

It is thought the man was swept into the cave, along with a woman, as the tide came in.

A kayaker managed to bring the woman to safety soon afterwards, but the man remained on a ledge in the cave overnight.

A multi-agency effort to bring him to safety was launched, with Ballyglass Lifeboat and Coast Guard personnel from Killala trying to reach the man.

They were joined by the garda sub-aqua unit, local fire and ambulance crews, as well as members of the Civil Defence.

Cliff rope teams from the Irish Cave Rescue organisation, along with Achill and Ballycastle Coast Guard units were also deployed to the scene.

Rescuers maintained contact with the man, who sheltered from the waters at the back of the cave.


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