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I am no hero, insists sea rescue pensioner

A PENSIONER has insisted he is no hero, despite rescuing a woman from a fast-moving and freezing estuary.

Retired taxi driver Owen Lumley (70), from Finglas, north Dublin, took up sailing 15 years ago.

The grandfather of six was heading out of Malahide marina on Saturday for a sail around Lambay Island in his yacht, 'Red Tape', when he spotted a crowd on the shore opposite the Grand Hotel. He then saw a woman in the fast-flowing, choppy water.

"I thought she was a swimmer who'd got into trouble," said Mr Lumley. But then he noticed she was fully clothed. He could see her moving, but she was clearly disoriented from the freezing water.

Mr Lumley threw her a rope, but the woman did not respond, so he grabbed the back of her anorak and managed to pull her on board.

The woman was freezing and distressed from her ordeal and surprised that she had been rescued.

Mr Lumley then sailed back to the marina where an ambulance was waiting to take the woman, believed to be in her 40s, to hospital.

Although a garda helicopter and a Coast Guard helicopter had been dispatched along with the RNLI lifeboat from Howth, Mr Lumley was first on the scene.

"It wasn't heroic to go to the rescue of a woman in distress. I was just delighted I was able to do something," he said.

Rupert Jeffares, the operations manager with the Howth RNLI, said: "It was a hell of a good turn. If she had been in the water much longer she would have drowned."

Irish Independent