Two US tourists had a lucky escape after their car plunged off a slipway into the sea on Valentia Island in Co Kerry yesterday afternoon.

The couple, who are believed to be in their 70s and staying in Killarney, were rescued by local man Mike Moriarty.

The 21-year-old was in the Royal Hotel in Knightstown when another customer said she thought she saw something going off the slipway near the clock tower ledge.

"I looked and couldn't see anything, but I walked over and I could see a silver car in the water," said Mr Moriarty.

He said the car was nose down in the water alongside the slipway wall and he could see two people inside.

"I took out my phone and wallet and jumped in," he said.

However, he could not open the driver's door and said he went for the back door in order to rebalance the car.

Mr Moriarty said this action allowed the water in and the nose of the car to re-position itself.

"It equalised the pressure and I was able to open the driver's door," he said.

It is understood the couple had been visiting the island in convoy with three or four other cars.

"They were very shook up," Mr Moriarty said.

The car was taken from the water by a local garage and the couple got a lift back to Killarney from others in the convoy.