'Hero' AJ saved family of four from icy canal
A 21-year-old man who pulled three small boys and their mother from a car which had plunged into a frozen canal was among 16 heroes honoured yesterday.
AJ McCullough from Co Meath, who is now known as "The Hero" to his friends, was driving by the Boyne Canal in Oldbridge, Drogheda, Co Meath, in November of last year when he witnessed an oncoming car flip over and enter the frozen, icy water.
Mr McCullough leapt from the car and climbed on top of the partially submerged vehicle.
He managed to get a back door open skyward and, despite being unable to see very much, pulled two of the three children from the car.
He then worked his way into the car to pull the remaining two occupants to safety.
AJ told how he had to wind down the driver's seat in order to rescue the third child and their mother out through the back door.
The roads were quiet due to freezing weather but soon an ambulance arrived and brought the family to hospital where all four made a complete recovery.
AJ was awarded for his bravery yesterday by Irish Water Safety authority.
The actions of the 16 recipients saved 15 lives in total.
"I didn't really have time to think, I just acted," he said.
"There was about four inches of ice on the road and I remember how freezing it was. I went to the christening of the lady's fourth child Tiffany after the incident, she was only six weeks old at the time of the accident and thankfully wasn't in the car. Thank God they were all together for Christmas last year," said Mr McCullough.
Also among the recipients were Bernard Cahill (17) and Donough Cronin (16) from Co Clare who dramatically rescued a father and son who got into difficulty off Spanish Point last summer.
Eight-year-old Gearoid Rogers got into difficulty while playing around in shallow water.
His father Ger, an experienced diver went to his assistance but both he and his son got caught in a rip tide.