A British woman who sparked a search and rescue operation last night when she went missing while swimming near Delimara has explained that she swam away because she was surrounded by jellyfish.

Kirsty Pike, who was rescued by the AFM after having initially been reported as having fallen overboard during a boat party, said she had not fallen overboard but had been happily swimming until a number of jellyfish surrounded her.

"I swam away as fast as I could and unfortunately ended up pretty far from the boat. I took shelter near a cave where I could half stand and was too scared to swim back because of the jellyfish," Ms Pike told timesofmalta.com.

"I am absolutely fine now, other than being hugely embarrassed (even more so now that this is now public knowledge!), a big thank you to the guys who rescued me. Thank you to my friends on the boat too and sorry for worrying you so much."

The 31-year-old Briton was rescued just after midnight.

The alert was raised at 11.10 p.m. when the luzzu Delfino reported to the AFM' Operations Center that a person was missing overboard in the vicinity of il-hofor near Xrobb l-ghagin. There were 26 persons partying on board at the time.

An AFM Maritime Squadron rescue launch, together with divers from 3rd Regiment AFM, was sent to the area and inshore patrol boat 'P21' was also directed to assist in the search.

The missing woman was sighted by soldiers who were on a dinghy at 12.30 a.m. She was near a cave along the shore line.

The woman's condition was described as good and she was only suffering from shock and exposure (initial hypothermia).

She was taken to the maritime base at Haywharf where an ambulance was waiting.


Meanwhile, the master of the Delfino said this morning that the woman had not fallen overboard but had gone for a swim near the caves. The alert was raised when she was not seen again after some time.


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