A CORK man is being hailed a hero after coming to the rescue of a boy who got into difficulties at Owenahincha Beach on Sunday.
Timmy O’Driscoll from Harbour View Rd received a message from the mother of the boy who had become caught in a rip tide.
Jackie O’Leary from Ballincollig had subsequently tracked him down through Facebook to express her gratitude.
She explained that her son Darragh, who is due to start first year this September, had been enjoying a day out with friends of the family when he found himself in trouble.
Timmy acted as soon as he saw the boy was in distress.
“I grabbed him and told him that he needed to kick his feet,” he said. “It was important that he worked with me.”
“If he panicked and jumped on my back, that would have been the two of us gone.”
The pair fought hard to make it back to dry land.
“Whatever strength I had, I used to pick him up and throw him against a wave. It was the only way I could get us both out of the water.”
Timmy managed to get the boy to safety in a matter of minutes.
“When he told me he could stand in the water, I knew we were both safe,” he said.
“We were both exhausted. The ordeal only lasted about five minutes, but it felt like a half hour. I just kept going because there was no way I was going to leave him drown.”
He put his impressive lifesaving skills down to lessons learned in childhood.
“I did a lifesaving course in primary school, and luckily everything I learned from it stayed with me,” he said.
“It just all kicked in as soon as I hit the water. As soon as it was all over, myself and the boy were both exhausted.”
Darragh’s mother Jackie O’Leary told The Echo how grateful she is to Timmy.
“I wasn’t there when it happened, but I reached out to Timmy when I saw his post about saving Darragh on Facebook,” she said.
“I told him that I had no words for what he had done and I am so grateful. It’s scary what can happen and how fast it can happen. I don’t even want to think about what could have happened.”
A representative from Cork County Council said that its lifeguard service had responded to a number of incidents over the weekend, and reminded people to take appropriate precautions while enjoying the sunshine at Cork’s beaches.
“Swim at lifeguard-patrolled beaches, never swim alone, and if you see someone in difficulty, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard,” said the representative said.
“Before heading to the beach, check out the council’s Beach Lifeguard page to see which beach is most suitable for your family’s needs.”
- For more information on water safety, visit https://watersafety.ie/