Thursday 24 October 2019

'If he wasn't there it could have ended a lot differently' - man who helped rescue stranger from river hailed a hero

Paul Murray and Paul Reynolds, who assisted with the recovery of a man from the River Boyne
Paul Murray and Paul Reynolds, who assisted with the recovery of a man from the River Boyne

Alison Comyn

The quick-thinking action of a man prevented almost certain tragedy last week, after he rescued another man from the River Boyne.

Paul Reynolds, from Cedarfield in Drogheda, Co Louth, climbed down onto slippery rocks to prevent an injured man from being carried away by the rising tide, putting his own safety at risk until emergency services arrived.

"I don't think I did much except keep his head above water until the Coastguard could safely take him out of the water," the modest hero said.

"I'm just glad if I could help in any way, and hope he makes a full recovery."

Paul was first alerted to the incident at around 7.30pm on July 9, as he jogged along the Ramparts with running friend Paul Murray.

"We are training for a charity event, and we could see a woman on the north bank at Mell shouting and motioning to our side of the river," he recalls.

"I was expecting to see a pup or something in the water, but when I looked over the wall, I got a shock to see a man lying injured on the rocks, partially lying in the water."

His instincts just kicked in and made his way across muddy and slippery rocks towards the man.

"It was about a 9-foot drop, and you could see the man was badly cut and injured, and both his legs looked very uncomfortable under him," says the brave man.

"He was in and out of consciousness and I picked up his head and rested it on my knee, to keep him out of the water."

It was then Mr Reynolds noticed how fast the tide was rising.

"I couldn't believe the water was coming up so fast, and within minutes, I was up to my knees.

"I was afraid to move him too much, but thankfully, the rescue services arrived and were able to take him ashore."

Local Cllr Tommy Byrne was passing at the time and praised the actions of Mr Reynolds.

"Only he was there, it definitely would have been a lot worse," Cllr Byrne told the Drogheda Independent.

"The other man could have been swept away in minutes, and as a public representative, it would be remiss of me not to mention how brave the other local man was."

Dermot McConneran from the Drogheda branch of the Irish Coastguard confirmed they were called to the scene of an incident shortly before 7.30pm.

"We got reports of a person in the water at the Ramparts, and when we launched, we could see someone in the water across from our boathouse," he told the Drogheda Independent.

"As we drew near in a few minutes, we could see someone lying in shallow water, but the tide was coming in so we had to move quickly."

Dermot says they would normally treat someone with obvious injuries at the scene, with a spinal board, however, time was not on their side in this instance.

"We had to all pull him into the boat, as we were against the clock, as that time of night the tide can rise 10cm a minute," he explained.

"It can be the difference between an injured person lying on their back, and being submerged in water in minutes."

Two ambulances attended the scene, and the man was treated in the boat before being brought to Our Lady of Lourdes hospital, where he was treated for serious injuries.

"I didn't do anything someone else wouldn't do in the same situation,' added Mr Reynolds. "I'm just glad I was there, and helped in any way I could."

Drogheda Independent

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