Saturday 22 October 2016

'I pulled the boy out... I had seen the bang' - Two young Irish scouts on how they saved drowning boy

Published 14/07/2016 | 14:27

Mollie Gibbons Powell and Seán Thompson
Mollie Gibbons Powell and Seán Thompson

Two young Irish scouts trained in water safety have saved a young Turkish boy from drowning while on holidays.

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Mollie Gibbons Powell and Sean Thompson, both age 16, are being hailed as heroes after their instinct kicked-in when they saw the 14-year-old boy jump from a gantry into a water hole and get knocked unconscious when his younger cousin jumped in immediately after him.

The incident happened on Tuesday as Mollie and Sean’s families were on holiday in Mahmutlar in Turkey.

The families are both very involved in different scouting units here in Ireland but met by chance while on holiday at the same place last year.

They coincidentally booked the same holiday this year and were out enjoying a meal when the drama unfolded.

“I saw the boy jump from the gantry into the water below, but then his cousin jumped in straight after him and they collided, knocking the older boy unconscious,” said Sean, from the 6th Wexford Tuskar Sea Scouts.

“It was instinct to dive in after them when I saw the older boy didn’t surface. Because I’m a sea scout I’m used to looking out for younger people around water.

“I found him in the water and pulled him towards a ladder at the side of the river, and that’s where Mollie was waiting,” he added.

Mollie continued the story of the incident on the Dim Cay River.

“I pulled the boy out. I had seen the bang when the two boys had collided and I knew they were in trouble. I could see the younger one trying to pull the older one out but he wasn't strong enough,” she said.

“I got the older boy out and myself and Sean put him in the recovery position and prepared him for CPR by clearing his airway,” she added.

Sean’s mother Olga explained that she was shouting for a doctor or nurse while her son was in the water trying to save the boy.

“A German woman came forward and said she is a nurse and she worked on him for 20 minutes until the ambulance arrived,” she said.

The boy, now in recovery, was taken to hospital.

Sean suffers impaired vision in one eye but said it did not stop him from helping.

Mollie is a member of the Rush 38th Scouts in North County Dublin.

The message they want to spread from their experience is the importance of water safety and training.

“You have to respect the water and be careful around it at all times. This has given me the motivation to increase my own training to a higher level now,” said Sean.

“I always thought I was being trained in water safety for the sake of it, but now I know how important that training can be,” he added.

Mollie echoed Sean’s view. “Join the Scouts, learn about water safety. You never know when you might have to use it,” she said.

Both Sean and Mollie have been involved in the scouts for around 10 years. Their families are also all involved in the movement.

Olga Thompson (46) said Sean and Mollie had jumped into action without even knowing what the other was doing.

The families are in touch with Turkish police and hope to find out about the boy’s condition in the coming days.

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