Friday 28 October 2016

Pensioner taking part in Limerick clean up with Paul O'Connell rescued after falling into freezing canal

David Raleigh

Published 03/04/2015 | 14:07

The area near the canal walkway in Limerick where the accident happened
The area near the canal walkway in Limerick where the accident happened

A pensioner taking part in a massive clean up of Limerick, involving sporting legends Paul O'Connell, AP McCoy and JP McManus, was dramatically rescued from a freezing canal today.

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The 75-year old was doing his bit to clean up the Canal Bank walkway off Clare Street, when he attempted to retrieve a life ring from the water and fell in.

A jogger who was passing by at the time managed to make contact with the man and held him by his arms until emergency services arrived at the scene.

Members of the Limerick Fire Service launched its specially trained Swift Water Rescue Unit which pulled the man to safety. Members of Limerick Marine Search and Rescue Service also attended the incident.

An eye witnesses said: "He was trying to get hold of the life buoy in the Canal when he fell in. He's a regular walker in the Canal Bank. A jogger saw him falling in and held him until the fire brigade got there and pulled him out. They wrapped him up in those tinfoil blankets to keep him warm."

The elderly man was removed by ambulance and taken to University Hospital Limerick where his condition is believed to be stable.

"It was a good outcome in the end. For a man of his age, he was lucky. The water in that canal is freezing at this time of the year," the witness added.

Overall, the inaugural Team Limerick Clean-Up (TLC) initiative -- organised by the JP McManus Foundation -- saw 10,000 people spring clean their local areas across the city and county.

Organisers said they hoped the one-day event will re-enforce the message of 'pride of place' and  create more awareness of how the public should properly dispose of their household and personal waste.

Proud Limerick native, and Irish and Munster rugby star, Paul O’Connell -- who scrummed in with the militant community cleaners -- described the event as "one of the most exciting campaigns ever to hit Limerick".

Sue Ann Foley, Chairperson of the JP McManus Benevolent Fund added: "We are delighted to sponsor the TLC initiative. This will undoubtedly have a positive impact on our city and  county and we are very grateful to all those involved for making it happen."

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