Tuesday 24 April 2018

Family's bedside vigil for man injured after diving into shallow pool in Ibiza

Sports-mad: Rickie Healy (27) had to be airlifted to hospital
Sports-mad: Rickie Healy (27) had to be airlifted to hospital

Ralph Riegel and Gerard Couzens

A tight-knit Irish community is praying for the recovery of a sport-loving young man critically injured in a freak swimming pool accident in Spain.

Rickie Healy (27), from Ballyclough, in north Cork, but who is now living in Galway, is in a critical condition in a Majorcan hospital after suffering suspected spinal injuries in the accident last Friday.

Mr Healy is believed to have dived into a swimming pool to cool off during searing temperatures in Ibiza - but mistakenly dived into the shallow end of the pool on Friday morning.

His neck and back are believed to have struck the pool bottom. He suffered such serious injuries that paramedics made the decision to have him airlifted to a major hospital on the nearby island of Majorca.

He remains in a critical condition in the Son Espaces Clinic with his family by his hospital bedside. They immediately flew out to Spain on Friday when they were alerted to the freak accident. The young man is understood to have been on holiday in the resort of San Antonio with two Irish friends.

Mr Healy was described by Ballyclough locals as "sports mad" and from a highly respected local farming family.

The young man studied in Mallow before undertaking third-level qualifications in mechanical engineering at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT).

In his teens he played GAA with Ballyclough and was part of a county championship winning side. However, his first love has always been equestrian sports. He is a lifelong member of the Duhallow Hunt and decided to relocate to Galway so he could focus on a career in the equestrian industry rather than engineering.

He became involved with the famous Galway hunt, the Galway Blazers, and has been living outside Galway city over recent years.

Mr Healy has two other siblings, a brother Tadhg and a sister Cait. One member of the Duhallow Hunt said everyone is praying for his recovery.

"People are shocked because Rickie is one of the nicest young fellas you could hope to meet."

Irish Independent

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