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Monday 20 November 2017

Students call for more lifebuoys after they were unable to use one while saving woman's life


Ciara Treacy

A GROUP of students are calling for more lifebuoys after they were unable to use one when saving a woman’s life.

Tara Rhattigan and her two friends – who all attend Mullingar Community College – saw a woman jumping into the canal at Ballinderry, Co Westmeath, last Thursday.

However when they reached for the lifesaving buoy, it was too tangled to use.

“Myself and Kelly ran towards [the woman] and we took down the buoy and it was all knotted and tangled and we couldn’t get it open,” Ms Rhattigan told RTÉ Radio One’s Liveline.

“We couldn’t get the knots out so we jumped in and the other girl that was there rang the ambulance.

“There was one right beside us but that was the only one we could see – there was no more.”

Although the pair jumped instinctively, Ms Rhattigan raised concern if those in the students’ position were unable to jump in to save the woman.

“I think there should be more of those buoys on the canal, not so far away,” she said.

“The next one could be a half mile up so you wouldn’t be able to run up and get it and get back down to help her.

“Myself and Kelly pulled her towards the edge and there was a man walking by and he helped to lift her out of the water.

“We turned her on her side. Some people brought some blankets and wrapped her in blankets.

“I was in shock but I didn’t think about it at the start because that could someone’s mother. I’d like to think if it was my mother, someone would help.”

Her friend Kelly McDermott said it was a “life or death thing” which prompted them to jump.

“You never know by putting yourself in that position, anything could have went wrong,” she said.

“I can’t even remember what was going through my head. It was just ‘there’s a woman in the water, we need to get her out’.

“When the ambulance came, she was just coming around to herself.”

Following last week’s experience, Mullingar Community College will run a charity day on April 14 to fundraise for more buoys along Irish waterways.

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