Monday 19 March 2018

Reluctant hero rescues 'ice bucket' teenagers

Shaun Haughey who helped rescue two other individuals from sea
Shaun Haughey who helped rescue two other individuals from sea

Greg Harkin

A RELUCTANT hero spoke last night of how he rescued two teenagers from a lough after an 'ice bucket challenge' went wrong.

The youths had jumped off a pier into Lough Swilly in Co Donegal. Eye-witnesses said the duo had been part of a larger group who had been teasing each other over doing a 'real' ice bucket challenge by jumping into the water off the pier at Rathmullan.

Shaun Haughey (21), from Drumkeen near Letterkenny, had been fishing off the pier when the teenagers began to disappear under the water.

During the next eight terrifying minutes, the two youths fought for their lives.

"Their heads kept going under the water," said Shaun who works for MediSize in Letterkenny.

"They were swallowing a lot of water. I'm a strong swimmer and went in to get them.

"The currents at the pier are very strong, they were sweeping the two boys away." But he is insisting he's not a hero.

"I only did what I had to do and I wouldn't even want anyone to know what I did but people need to know that pier is dangerous," said Shaun (inset).

"I'm a very strong swimmer and even I wouldn't go in to where those boys were."

His proud father Johnny said: "He saved those two boys, there is no doubt about that. Rathmullan pier is notorious and people have unfortunately drowned there before.

"But Shaun won't hear of anyone praising him for it. He's just that sort of good-natured lad and that's the way he is."

The rescued boys were lifted out of the water and on to a boat and taken ashore.

However, they ran off after their ordeal on Sunday night.

"We don't even know who they were or where they were from," said Johnny.

"But they're lucky to be alive."

In July 2011, Sean McNair, (17), from Derry, drowned after getting into difficulty at the same pier.

Irish Independent

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