Friday 15 December 2017

Mystery hero jumped in river and pulled woman from sinking car

The couple’s car is lifted from the Swilly Burn river near Lifford, Co Donegal. Photo: North West News
The couple’s car is lifted from the Swilly Burn river near Lifford, Co Donegal. Photo: North West News

Stephen Maguire

A mystery hero managed to pull a woman from a car after she and her husband ended up in a river when their vehicle came off the road in Co Donegal.

The young man was one of a number of people who dramatically came to the rescue of the couple on Saturday evening.

The couple, who were named locally as Philip and Loreta McKinlay, from Rosgier, in Lifford, are in their 60s.

They were both rushed to nearby Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry for treatment, and Mrs McKinlay is understood to be in a critical condition.

Their car crashed into the Swilly Burn river, near Porthall, in Lifford, just before 6.30pm.

A number of people arrived on the scene and waded into the river as water filled up the Nissan Qashqai car.

The driver managed to get out and scramble onto the roof of the car.

He shouted at people that his wife was trapped inside and to get her out.

One young man managed to swim out to the car and get the woman out.

Another passer-by ran to a passing motorist and managed to get a water hose, which he passed to the rescuer before the couple were taken ashore.

The man who got the hose, who asked not to be named, said the man who pulled the woman from the car was the real hero.

"I'm not sure who he was. When I arrived I saw the man on the roof and he was shouting that his wife was inside.

"Out of nowhere this guy just jumped in and managed to pull the woman from the car.

"I threw out the hose and they came back in," he said.

"When he got the woman to the banking, he started to give her CPR. I think he is from the North. He is the hero."

The emergency services from both sides of the Border, including the Rescue 118 helicopter, arrived as the people were taken from the car.

The couple, who are in their 60s, were rushed to nearby Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry for treatment.

The woman is understood to be in a critical condition.

The couple have been named locally as Philip and Loreta McKinlay from Rosgier in Lifford.

Gardai are still trying to determine the cause of the crash.

There were no skidmarks at the scene and no other vehicle was involved in the crash which happened close to the Sully Bridge.

The couple’s pet golden retriever dog was in the car but managed to get out and fled the scene but was found a short time later.

Garda forensic experts spent yesterday (Sun) trying to figure out the cause of the crash.

The car was taken from the river for further examination yesterday (Sun) afternoon.

Garda Inspector Michael Harrison said there was very little that could be said at this stage.

“At this stage we are still keeping an open mind on the cause of the crash. We are appealing to anyone who may have been in the area and witnessed the car leaving the road and entering the water to get in touch,” he said.

Irish Independent

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