Monday 19 February 2018

'She was just drifting' - Chef tells how he dived into River Liffey to rescue drowning woman

Bachelors Walk and inset Diarmuid Comerford
Bachelors Walk and inset Diarmuid Comerford
Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

A chef is being hailed a hero after he jumped into the River Liffey to rescue a woman who had fallen in.

Diarmuid Comerford was walking home from work in Temple Bar along Dublin’s Bachelor’s Walk when he spotted an argument between a couple and a group of youths.

He told that the couple, who are believed to be from Sardinia off the coast of Italy, ended up in the water.

Mr Comerford (27), from Co Kerry, called gardaí before stripping off and jumping into the Liffey where he rescued the young woman.

“I saw some lad trying to climb out of the river and then he was back in again.

“I looked in the water and I could see a woman. She had just floated into a little patch of light.

Diarmuid Comerford right on Dublin's North Quays. Picture: Facebook
Diarmuid Comerford right on Dublin's North Quays. Picture: Facebook

“She was holding her head above the water but she couldn’t swim. She wasn’t threading water, she was just drifting.

“I gave the phone to this other passerby and I just jumped in the river and brought her over to the Southside wall there.

“People threw us down a buoy and we climbed up,” he said.

Mr Comerford said that he and the couple were suffering from shock after the incident.

An ambulance arrived and quickly brought them to St James’s Hospital.

“When they took her to the hospital, she was really really cold. Her core temperature was very low.”

The couple had been sitting alone on Bachelor’s Walk at around 11.25pm on Tuesday, June 21.

Mr Comerford said the youths approached them and started demanding cash and telephones.

“They asked them for cigarettes. When the couple didn’t have a cigarette they took your man’s phone, his expensive watch, his wallet.

“I think she had tried to hold onto her phone and one of the girls who was in the group grabbed her hair and before either of them knew what was happening they were both in the water.”

Mr Comerford, who is originally from Lauragh, is working as a chef in Klaw restaurant in Temple Bar.

He said he has limited lifesaving experience.

“I feel overwhelmed by the attention. It’s a nice thing to have done. I know for myself the next time I see somebody drowning that I will be able to do it. Having said that, I hope I never have to do it again.”

A garda spokesman confirmed that they have received a complaint about of an incident on June 21 in Dublin’s inner city.

“We are investigating the circumstances of this incident.”

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