Woman hailed as hero for brave rescue of boy (3) who fell into river
A female pedestrian was hailed as a hero for fearlessly diving into a river to save a child who had slipped and fallen into the water.
Maria Foley was the focus of glowing tributes from Cork Fire Brigade, gardaí and Irish Water Safety for the courage she displayed in saving the three-year-old boy from the River Lee off Cork's city centre quays.
The little boy, who was later released from hospital, was walking with an au pair at noon in the city centre yesterday when he suddenly ran forward to see the fish swimming in the River Lee.
However, before the au pair could grab him, the child slipped on a wet surface and skidded directly beneath safety railings and into the river.
The incident occurred near Brian Ború Bridge.
Quick-thinking Ms Foley, who saw what happened, immediately jumped into the water to rescue the child. She grabbed the boy and used a quay wall as a support to keep them both afloat. Ms Foley, from Cobh, Co Cork, held the child over her head with one hand while holding on to the quay wall with her other hand.
Ms Foley, who is in her 30s, had to be winched to safety from the river with the child.
But she shrugged off the tributes of onlookers at St Patrick's Quay.
"Anyone would have done the same," she told one rescue volunteer. "All that matters is that the child is OK."
Her son, Kyle, publicly hailed his mother for being a hero.
"Mam saved a beautiful child's life by jumping into the river. So happy the child is safe, Mam. You are a hero for doing this," he posted on social media.
"Love you - so happy you are OK."
Cork Fire Brigade third officer Victor Shine said Ms Foley's actions required remarkable stamina.
"Maria displayed incredible heroism by going into the water to rescue this child. Her courage undoubtedly saved this little boy's life," he said.