Sunday 15 September 2019

Eight-year-old who saved boy (3) from bottom of swimming pool gets award for his bravery

Finn among 36 'courageous' lifesavers to be honoured

Finn Bell Ryan (pictured), Mark Cullinane and Kelvin Kearns all received ‘Just In Time’ awards from Irish Water Safety for their efforts. Photos: Mark Condren
Finn Bell Ryan (pictured), Mark Cullinane and Kelvin Kearns all received ‘Just In Time’ awards from Irish Water Safety for their efforts. Photos: Mark Condren
Finn Bell Ryan, Mark Cullinane (pictured) and Kelvin Kearns all received ‘Just In Time’ awards from Irish Water Safety for their efforts. Photos: Mark Condren
Finn Bell Ryan, Mark Cullinane and Kelvin Kearns (pictured) all received ‘Just In Time’ awards from Irish Water Safety for their efforts. Photos: Mark Condren
Ryan Nugent

Ryan Nugent

Heroes who put their lives on the line to save others were recognised for their bravery at the Irish Water Safety (IWS) awards.

The organisation paid tribute to the 36 "courageous" winners of its 'Just In Time' awards.

Among them was Finn Bell Ryan (8).

The young boy from Limerick courageously saved the life of a three-year-old boy while on holiday in Portugal.

Finn had noticed the boy in difficulty in the water and immediately jumped in to pull the child from the bottom of the swimming pool.

Also honoured at the ceremony was Kelvin Kearns, from Kilmeaden, Co Waterford, who reacted swiftly to save a man stuck inside a car which had crashed down an embankment into a stream.

Mr Kearns was driving in Butlerstown, Co Waterford, on September 27 last year when he came across the scene of an accident.

An elderly man had been driving along the stretch of road in treacherous conditions and lost control of his car.

The man (70) had veered off the road and fallen down a ravine into a deep stream.

When Mr Kearns got to the bottom of the embankment, the car was flipped over, with the pensioner stuck inside it.

Mr Kearns managed to pull the man from the car, but he was unable to pull him fully to safety due to the car's position.

He instead held him up until the emergency services arrived.

Asked about the feat, Mr Kearns said: "I was just coming out the road, I didn't know what happened, I didn't know what prompted me.

"I didn't think about anything, I just done what I done.

"I don't know what was going on in my head, but my body was just doing stuff."

Also honoured were Niall O'Neill, Brendan Chasseriaud, Dara McDonagh, Samuel Healy and Sean Oliver - who pulled a man on board the rigid inflatable boat they were out in on the River Corrib after realising he was in distress.

Another hero was Martin Cullinane, from Cork, who became the face of the water safety campaign after he saved the lives of two young brothers during the summer.

Around 127 people die in Ireland every year as a result of drowning - and the figure could be a lot higher, according to Rural and Community Development Minister Seán Canney.

"It is an honour to pay tribute to these courageous recipients," Mr Canney said.

"Tragically, an average of 127 people drown in Ireland every year. Although that's 127 too many, the figure would be even higher but for the dramatic efforts of these individuals who saved others from drowning, and the ongoing work of Irish Water Safety volunteers, teaching swimming and water rescue skills."

Irish Independent

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