Wednesday 21 February 2018

Rescuers are attacked while trying to save drowning man

Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

EMERGENCY personnel came under attack from a gang of youths as they tried to save the life of a drowning man.

And hospital staff were attacked later in the night as the mob tried to take the body of the dead man from the hospital.

Gardai, ambulance, coastguard and fire service personnel rushed to the Inniscarra Hydroelectric reservoir on the River Lee, 15 miles from Cork city.

They were alerted to an incident shortly before midnight involving a 21-year-old man who had got into difficulty while swimming.

Michael "Mikie" O'Driscoll – with an address at the Model Farm Road in Cork but originally from the Glen area on the northside of the city – died when he got into difficulty while swimming at midnight.

A gang of youths, believed to be from Cork city, had gone to the reservoir at Inniscarra where they were drinking during the hot summer night.

Members of the group, including the deceased, had entered the water. While swimming, the man got out of his depth and began to struggle.

When emergency services arrived, a number of people attacked the crews and a large garda presence was required to protect rescuers as they tried to find the man's body.

The victim's body was recovered at 1am and ambulance crews attempted to resuscitate the man. As an ambulance was leaving, the group attacked the vehicle. A Coastguard vehicle was damaged and gardai made two arrests at the scene.

The attackers then went to Cork University Hospital where they attacked hospital staff.

ARRESTS

Gardai were again called and uniformed units with assistance from the Regional Support Unit deployed pepper spray to bring the incident under control.

Further arrests were made as the gang attempted to storm the A&E department and take the body of the dead man.

"Members came under attack at the scene – there were a lot of drunken people there who have previous criminal issues and they attacked the crews as they tried to save the man.

"Vehicles were damaged and it took a bit of time to bring the situation under control," said a source.

Yesterday, the scene was quiet but evidence of heavy drinking, including cans and bottles, were strewn around.

Gardai have said that a file will be prepared and forwarded for consideration for criminal prosecutions.

Irish Independent

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