THE MOTHER of one of the two women rescued off the coast of Galway says she's "forever indebted" to fisherman Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan, who found them.
Helen Feeney told RTÉ Drivetime of her panic when she realised her daughter, Sara and niece, Ellen went out paddle boarding, but hadn't come back to shore.
The coastguard were called, and after a 15 hours search which lasted through the night, the girls were eventually discovered clinging to a lobster pot buoy, some 17 nautical miles from where they were last seen.
Ms Feeney said it was "the stuff of nightmares" and they were "living by the second" until the moment news came that the girls were safe.
Mr Oliver and his son were given a hero's welcome when they returned home on Thursday following the rescue.
Patrick Oliver told RTÉ News that he had "thought about their poor mother on the beach all night looking for them", and that he was delighted to be able to reunite the cousins with their family.
His son, Morgan, first spotted the girls "waving their paddles up in the air" while clinging to the buoys.
The fishermen wrapped them in oilskin jackets to keep them warm before paramedics arrived.
"They were definitely in shock but the weather is warm so they were lucky," he said.