A NORTH Cork man who miraculously survived a 10,000-volt electric shock had an emotional reunion with the people who helped save his life.
Noel Moloney from Doneraile was transporting his sailing boat from a field in the rear of his home when it collided with power lines.
The action resulted in severe electrocution, giving Noel’s son Shane just seconds to save him.
Shane also risked his own life in the process.
He told his story as part of the Big Push to Save Lives campaign which will see North Cork gardaí, firefighters and first responders push an ambulance for 26.2-miles.
“Shane pulled me back by the hoodie, but luckily he didn’t electrocute himself,” Noel explained.
“I’ll always consider him a hero.”
Noel remembers little of that day.
“The mast was hidden by a tree so I didn’t even know it existed before that. There was noise and sparks.
“I stood back to see what had happened and that’s about as far as I remember. However, those who were there on the day filled me in on the events that followed.”
Noel’s wife Debbie was alerted to the situation and carried out CPR on Noel.
Their neighbour Majella assisted with the resuscitation.
“When the first responders arrived they gave me two shocks. I came back on the second one. I’m so grateful to them for the sense of relief they gave my wife before the ambulance came.”
The ordeal left Noel in a coma for five days and resulted in eight broken bones, a broken back and a punctured lung.
“When I came round I was completely unaware of what had happened,” he said. “I woke up in the hospital, having lost a week of my life.”
Noel returned to work, in spite of his extensive injuries, just six weeks after the accident.
“I’ve never been one to stick around,” he laughed. I did suffer a few injuries but I got back to pipe fitting soon afterwards. I have days where I have to count to 20 before getting out of bed (with the pain) but you have to keep going.”
He has also returned to the water.
“That same boat made it back into the water. The first time I took it out I realised the electrocution had burned a hole in it. I had to take it home to repair it before returning to the water.”
The Cork man remains strong a year after the incident. “I’ve had a full year of doctors and surgeries. My recovery is ongoing but it’s getting there.”
The first responders still play a huge part in the lives of the Moloneys.
“I don’t know where Debbie got the strength to perform CPR for 25 minutes. We often joke that after 22 years of marriage she went and broke my ribs,” he laughed.
“That was how long the CPR lasted. After the incident, Debbie joined the first responders in the area. We will always be so grateful for what they have done for us.”
He praised the first responder’s timely response, along with his family and neighbour.
“Time is critical in a situation like this. It took 10,000 volts to stop the heart and another to start it again. I was 25 minutes without oxygen. It is unbelievable to think I’m even here today. I could have ended up in a vegetative state.”
Noel and his family are glad to be able to put the incident behind them.
“It’s not something we talk about much. You just have to get on with things.”
The Big Push to Save Lives is set to take place in Cork Racecourse Mallow on April 27. The event will also serve as an information day on emergency services in the area and offer enjoyable family activities.