Friday 22 September 2017

Teenager (13) hailed a hero for rescuing drowning man from river

Clodagh Hayes (13) and her Dolphin swimming club coach Mick McCormack.
Clodagh Hayes (13) and her Dolphin swimming club coach Mick McCormack.
Clodagh Hayes
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A teenager has been hailed as a hero for rescuing a young man from drowning in the River Lee in Co Cork.

Clodagh Hayes (13) defied strong currents to help guide the young man to the safety of the riverbank in Cork city as dozens of people stared in horror fearing that she wouldn't be able to reach him in time.

The young student from Colasite an Phiarsaigh in Glanmire had just finished swim training on Monday evening when, as she walked to the car with her father, Ray, she noted that a young man swimming in the River Lee off the Marina seemed to be in difficulty.

She instantly realised the young man was in serious trouble - and after consulting with her father, grabbed a lifebuoy and cleverly swam out beyond the young man, thereby avoiding getting entangled with his desperate efforts to stay afloat.

The teen managed to hand the lifebuoy to the man and then dragged him back to shore where the emergency services were waiting.

Clodagh's Dolphin Swimming Club coach Mick McCormack contacted the Neil Prendeville Show on Cork's RedFM to highlight the heroics of the young girl who insisted on playing down the incident to the point where, when she went to school the following day, didn't even tell her classmates what had happened.

"She was finishing up (training) down by the Marina on Monday evening," Mick said.

"There were a bunch of young fellas jumping off the pier into the river down beside Pairc Uí Chaoimh.

"Clodagh was there ready to go home but she recognised that one of the lads was in trouble.

"He started to be dragged out and he was about to go under. You have to assess what is happening - and that's what Clodagh did.

"They rang the emergency services and they were there very fast."

Mick said that Clodagh is an exceptionally strong swimmer and did exactly as she was advised and that all club members are given life-saving training.

"She swam past him, she passed the buoy to him and them, as he held it, she dragged him back to shore."

"The lad could swim but I think bravado got the better of him. He went out a bit far, the current got him and he panicked a bit."

The young man was treated by emergency services at the scene and while shocked, was none the worse for his ordeal.

"Clodagh came out of the water and everyone was congratulating her, patting her on the back. She didn't know what the fuss was all about.

"It was a tough call - you don't just jump in willy-nilly. You need to assess the situation because you don't want to be dealing with two people being lost rather than one."

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