TWO young sailors who saved the life of their competitor, Cork sailor Johnny Durcan, have been praised for their selfless act on a visit to the city.
Simon Hoffman of Newcastle, Australia and Santiago Alegre from Barcelona jumped off their boats to assist Mr Durcan of the Royal Cork Yach Club, when he became trapped under his skiff dinghy during a capsize at the 29er championships in Los Angeles last August.
His trapeze harness was caught and he stopped breathing and passed out.
If Hoffman and Alegre had not intervened, Johnny may not have survived. The brave young men have been lauded for their actions and have been spending time in Cork at the request of Johnny's family and the Irish Sailing Association.
“It was a selfless act in a big competition,” said English Market butcher Tom Durcan - Johnny's dad.
“Myself and my wife are unbelievably grateful to the lads. Words cannot describe it when your son of 17 years of age is basically dead and brought back to life.
"They were competing against Johnny. He was ahead of them and without saying a word to anybody they dived off their boats and into the water to save the boys.
“In fairness, you couldn't ask any more of anyone. The sportsmanship of it was fantastic,” he added.
The Irish Sailing Association invited them over to Ireland because they are nominated for the Sailor of the Year after they were commended with the Sailors of the Month award for August.
Both Hoffman and Alegre have been enjoying the city and have been taking in all the tourist attractions as well as being invited to City Hall to meet Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald.
“Johnny is thrilled to see them and so is everyone in the sailing fraternity around Ireland because they all heard about it,” said Mr Durcan.
“Everyone knows the kind of selfless act they performed. Thankfully, they did it because it if they didn't, Johnny wouldn't be with us.
“They're having a ball, they've been all over Cork and we've shown them all the nice things in Cork there is to see, they've even gone to watch Pres play rugby,” he added.