Friday 23 March 2018

Seven-year-old boy remains on life support after falling into river

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A SEVEN year old boy is fighting for his life after he fell into a flooded river and was swept 200m downstream.

A young mother was maintaining a heartbreaking vigil at Crumlin Hospital as her only child remained on a life-support machine after the tragic accident in Midleton, Co Cork.


The boy lost his footing while out playing at Tir Cluain estate in Midleton and fell headlong into the Owenacurra stream which, due to torrential rainfall, was raging at almost 1.7m (5ft) depth.


The alarm was raised by Oisin Shanahan (9), who had been playing with the boy, and he raced across the green to plead for help.


Locals Roy Daly and Damian Garde were hailed as heroes for risking their own lives in the torrent to pull the child from the freezing water.


The boy had been swept almost 200m downstream and was in the freezing water for up to 10 minutes.


Mr Daly said everyone is now praying for the boy and his family.


“That is all we can do...hope and pray that he recovers. I don’t want to say much because I know the family. I was just heading home at Saturday evening with my car window down when I heard a young boy screaming.”


“I stopped my car, jumped out and then heard someone shouting: ‘We’ve found him, we’ve found him.’ I ran over and jumped straight into the stream to help get him to the bank.”


The force of the water almost knocked over the two men but they were finally able to get the boy out of the stream.


The little boy was found by local farmer, Damian Garde, who passed him to Roy Daly so he could be dragged to safety.


He received emergency treatment at the scene before he was rushed to Cork University Hospital (CUH). He was transferred at 10pm on Saturday by helicopter to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.


The boy was fighting for his life today with his family by his bedside.


John Shanahan, whose home overlooks the Owenacurra, admitted that the entire community was deeply shocked by what happened.


John, who is visually impaired and relies on a guide dog, said but for that he too would have jumped into the stream to save the boy.


“It is a nightmare for everyone but especially for the poor family. Our hearts go out to them,” he said.


Resident Tim Ageleola, whose child is friendly with the boy, said it was a shocking scene and all the more upsetting given local concerns over the river fence.


“Everyone here has been complaining….the hole in the fence was fixed twice last year but someone came along with a wire-cutter and opened it up again,” he said.


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