A mother has described how she and her two young children were almost swept out to sea by a huge wave she believes was caused by a passing ferry.
Cathy Carter believes the wave was caused by a passing ferry
Cathy Carter was walking along the esplanade in Holywood at lunctime when the incident happened.
Mrs Carter said she feared her toddler Milo and baby Heidi would be sucked out to sea by the wave.
"It was like slow motion, it just felt like if I let go of these two they're gone," she said.
"The wave just came right over the top of me - and I'm quite tall, I'm 5ft 10 - right over the top of me and took the pram off its wheels and swung it right round.
"It hit us first, then sucked us backwards, so I was being sucked towards the water and I was holding onto the pram with one arm and holding onto Milo with the other.
"He was on reins, and if he hadn't been on reins he would have been sucked straight into the sea."
Mrs Carter said the sea had appeared calm before the incident.
"There were no waves there today and I'm usually really careful with them, but you don't expect this to happen whenever there's absolutely no waves at all.
"It was just a freak wave that came right over the top of us," she said.
Mrs Carter said she was convinced the wave was caused by a high speed HSS ferry which had passed by towards Belfast just a minute or so before the incident.
She said the incident had come as a huge shock.
"It amazed me how quickly you could lose everything. If those two had gone into the sea I just would have lost absolutely everything.
"You can be walking along, happy as anything and all of a sudden this can happen. It was just really scary," Mrs Carter said.
Ferry company Stenaline said there is a speed restriction on ferries travelling along Belfast Lough and they are investigating what happened.