Monday 21 October 2019

Quick actions of brave angler save man drowning in river

Elaine Keogh

A Polish man out shopping with his daughter jumped into the freezing river Boyne to rescue a drowning man while hundreds of people looked on.

Sylvester Mitorag (29) said he has been an angler for 20 years and he had no fear of the water as he went to the man's aid.

Rescue services who came on the scene said "there is no doubt the passer-by that entered the water saved the casualty's life."

Speaking from his home in Drogheda, Sylvester said he had taken his daughter Wiktoria (7) to the Scotch Hall shopping centre, beside the Boyne river in Drogheda, on St Stephen's afternoon.

They had just left the centre when he saw a crowd of people gathered on the riverside and on deLacy bridge, a pedestrian bridge over the river.

"When we finished shopping we saw on the white (pedestrian) bridge, loads of people there and a couple of women were screaming 'there is someone in the river.' "

"There were maybe 150 to 200 people there and no one jumps in (to save him). No one did anything," he said.

Sylvester was determined to rescue him but it took two attempts before he could get into the river.

First he tried to jump in from de Lacy Bridge but was prevented by large safety railings.

"So I thought to let him go down the river a bit and I run straight to Drogheda Port and jumped from there because there was a ladder there."

At the time the river was half full and flowing quickly towards the sea. He was in the water about two minutes when the gardai arrived.

They threw him a life-ring and he took it with him as he swam out to grab the man who was in distress.

He held on to him for about four minutes until boats arrived from the Boyne Fishermen's Rescue and Recovery service.

The crew took the man aboard and back to its boathouse on the Marsh Road where paramedics treated him before transferring him to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.

Sylvester was also checked out by the ambulance crew and he then headed home.

He said he took action when he saw no one else jumping in because, "Everyone deserves to live, maybe that person has some family who loves him, you know."

His daughter watched her dad's actions from the pedestrian bridge and said, "I am very proud of my dad. I didn't think he would do such a thing."

Meanwhile, the body of a woman who fell into the River Shannon in Limerick on Christmas Day was recovered yesterday.

The woman, aged in her early 20s, was seen entering the river at Steamboat Quay in Limerick City at around 4am last Sunday.

A Garda underwater diving unit discovered her body in the river at around 1pm near the Clarion Hotel, about four hundred yards from where she had gone into the water.

And the Limerick Marine Search and Rescue service was alerted to the same stretch of river in the early hours of yesterday morning.

A woman had threatened to jump into the river from a bridge at around 5am but was "talked down" by a garda.

In Dublin, eight units of the Dublin Fire Brigade were drafted in to rescue two women from the River Liffey early yesterday morning.

Units from all over the city were called upon after the alarm was raised shortly before 3am. Both women were taken to the Mater Hospital for treatment where their condition is said to be stable.

Irish Independent

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