TWO late-night swimmers have been taken to hospital after being rescued from the sea in the Northern Isles.
Shetland coastguard was alerted at about 1.50am to reports of two women in difficulty at Inganess Bay, Orkney.
The Kirkwall coastguard rescue team and RNLI lifeboat were sent to the scene along with the coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Shetland.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said the coastguard rescue team was the first to arrive.
A coastguard rescue swimmer then entered the water, swimming out 70 metres before reaching the casualties.
Both were taken ashore where they were met by waiting paramedics and taken to Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall, Orkney.
During the rescue, the coastguard swimmer inhaled sea water. He was taken to hospital and was later discharged. He has since been praised for his bravery.
Andy Graham, watch assistant at Shetland Coastguard, said: “I would advise against people entering the water at night, the sea may look calm but strong currents can cause hidden dangers. You should always check tidal conditions and when possible swim at a beach where a lifeguard is present.
“The coastguard rescue swimmer who went in to the water should be praised for his bravery, without him the rescue tonight could have easily had a very different outcome.”