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Sunday 31 August 2014

Heroic boy drowned after saving two pals

Published 22/06/2014 | 02:30

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Ricky Oasagi

A young Dublin boy has drowned in a pond near his home.

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Ricky Oasagi, 13, got into difficulty after going to the assistance of two young girls at a water feature in Waterville Park, Blanchardstown, on Friday evening.

He was taken to Temple Street Children's Hospital on Friday night, where he later passed away.

A number of other children saw 13-year-old Ricky struggling in the water and are said to be deeply distressed following the incident. The two girls are now said to be in a stable condition.

Meanwhile, tributes are pouring in for the youngster this weekend. Ricky's football club, Corduff FC, paid a heartfelt tribute to the schoolboy on their Facebook page yesterday.

"Corduff FC are saddened to learn that the great Ricky Oasagi has passed away overnight," the club said, noting that the 13-year-old had been involved with them since he was a young child.

"We all know each other in the club – but everyone knew Ricky – on and off the pitch. Be it his fancy hairstyles, his shimmy dance after scoring goals or just his all-round cheerful, confident personality . . . he was a seriously gifted footballer."

The message from Corduff FC was inundated with replies, many from other Dublin football clubs who remembered the schoolboy.

Labour Party deputy leader Joan Burton, in whose constituency the tragedy happened, joined in the tributes.

Ms Burton said Ricky "died following a very brave attempt to save two girls" who got into difficulty in the water. "My thoughts are with his parents, family and friends," she said.

Eyewitnesses claimed the youngster had been underwater "for at least 10 minutes" before he was found by rescuers. Paramedics were called to the scene and all three teenagers were taken from the scene by ambulance.

A local resident who came upon the scene told how a crowd of around 150 people were "shell-shocked" in the aftermath of the accident.

Three or four adults were receiving medical attention, wrapped up in insulation foil, he said, suggesting that they had tried to come to the assistance of the teens.

Teenagers wading in the manmade pond had been "a common sight" in the recent warm weather and the public park is much used by families, he added.

However, one local man expressed incredulity at how the group might have got into trouble in the water. He said he had often swam in the pond himself and said it was shallower towards the edge and reaches a maximum depth of just five feet. "It's very, very upsetting," he said.

NIAMH HORAN

Sunday Independent

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