Video shows tourist carried off cliff by giant wave in Ireland

Aparajita Gupta's fall was cushioned by the water, allowing her to be hoisted to safety by Seamus McCarthy.
By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |  April 17, 2015 at 1:04 PM
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INIS MOR, Ireland, April 17 (UPI) -- A student taking video in Ireland's Aran Islands captured the moment a tourist taking pictures atop a tall cliff was washed away by a massive wave.

Brian Smith, a U.S. student studying in Ireland, was taking video on Inis Mor, the largest of the islands, when a massive wave swept Aparajita Gupta, 21, off the cliff where she was taking pictures of the crashing waters.

Smith said he and his girlfriend ran to call for help.

"It was pretty scary at first," Smith told NBC News.

Gupta, who was visiting Ireland from India with her parents, estimated she fell about 50 feet to the water below.

"The water cushioned my fall, so when I finally fell the impact wasn't as great as it could have been and next to me, there was a boulder and I held onto it," Gupta said.

Seamus McCarthy, a paramedic, witnessed Gupta's fall and saw her limping at the bottom of the cliff. "I could see her limping close to the bottom of the cliff. The waves were still coming in so it was very dangerous. When I reached down I could barely get my fingertips to her," he told the Irish Independent.

McCarthy fashioned a rope out of a jacket, tied it to a backpack, and lowered it for Gupta.

"She put the rucksack on and tied the bellystrap. As one of the others pulled her up and was able to reach out and grab her," he said.

Gupta was taken to Galway hospital, where she was treated for a broken ankle.

"The video shows just how quickly our powerful aquatic environments can change especially in coastal areas subject to Atlantic swells. It is terribly important to stay away from the edge and to make sure that children receive constant uninterrupted supervision near water," a representative for Irish Water Safety said.

Topics: Brian Smith
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