Drowning man pulled to safety by teen scouts

Conor Feehan

THREE sea scouts who helped rescue a capsized canoeist in Malahide are to be nominated for a bravery award for their heroic actions.

UNDER the guidance of group leader Ivan Barrett, two young members of the Malahide Sea Scouts helped save the life of the man who had fallen into the estuary during dangerous force six winds.

Shane Desmond and Sebastian Kinzel, who are both in their mid teens, were praised for their calm actions under pressure.

The incident happened on January 27 when members of the Sea Scouts went kayaking on Malahide's inner estuary despite the testing weather conditions.

"There was a big tide flowing in and meeting a force six wind, and waves coming down the inner estuary. We know from past experience that this results in chaotic water close to the arches," Ivan Barrett explained.

"As we approached from the outer estuary side we spotted a canoeist in difficulties, having fallen out of his canoe," he added.

Ivan managed to reach the man and got him to hold onto the stern of his boat, while Shane went after the capsized canoe and managed to tow it to the railway causeway.


When the canoeist, who was having difficulty breathing, failed to hang on Sebastian risked his own safety to rescue him again.

"Unfortunately, the man who was being rescued got a lot of water into his face making it difficult to breathe, and after a while he let go.

"But Sebastian Kinsel rescued him again and got him back on the rope before the crew on the bridge managed to pull him in and hoist him up on to the railway line," said Ivan

The coastguard had been notified and the helicopter arrived hovering overhead just as the man was pulled from the water and the rescue mission was stood down.

Malahide Sea Scouts group leader Robert McKernan said that Ivan, Sebastian and Shane will now be nominated for a Gallantry and Bravery Award through Scouting Ireland.

The Malahide Sea Scouts are no strangers to keeping a vigilant eye open for danger.

In 2009 the scouts warned about possible damage to one of the piers supporting the Broadmeadow Estuary rail viaduct five days before it collapsed into the sea after a Belfast to Dublin train went over it.

One of the leaders contacted Irish Rail to report erosion damage, along with a recent change in water flow in the estuary.

"This wasn't something that happened overnight," said the leader at the time.

"We had noticed a massive change in the water flow, with a third of it going through one of the arches that collapsed," he had added.