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Firefighters hailed as heroes following daring river rescue

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Colum McCarthy and Des Fitzgerald, Limerick City and County Fire and Rescue who were involved in a dramatic River Rescue in the Abbey River.

Colum McCarthy and Des Fitzgerald, Limerick City and County Fire and Rescue who were involved in a dramatic River Rescue in the Abbey River.

Colum McCarthy and Des Fitzgerald, Limerick City and County Fire and Rescue who were involved in a dramatic River Rescue in the Abbey River.

Two hero firefighters are to be recommended for bravery medals after risking their lives to save a man who jumped into a raging river.

Colm McCarthy (34) and Des Fitzgerald (42), of Limerick City Fire Service, said that if they had not have jumped into the Abbey River the man would have been swept to his death.

"We were there within three minutes of receiving the call and I'd say we had him out within six or seven minutes," said Colm.

"The Abbey was ripping. It was the closest we've come to losing someone in the river."

treacherous

The two rescuers swam against a strong current to reach the man who had jumped just as the fire service arrived on scene.

"Des jumped in first and I jumped in after him and basically we made contact with him straight away and held him," said Colm. "The tide was on the way out so it was pretty treacherous."

The weir on the river presented further danger for the three men.

"It was flying, a very fast flow, and the cold," said Des.

"We were thinking about that as well, to get the man out and get him warmed up. It was pretty severe."

Colm added that if they had been 10 seconds later "we wouldn't have got him, it would have been unfortunately another statistic. If we didn't get there so quickly it would have been a recovery more than a rescue".

Both men modestly shrugged off being hailed as heroes.

"I know people will throw that around, but at the end of the day that is our job. We train for it," said Colm.

recognition

Station Officer Pat Kiely, who witnessed the dramatic rescue on Monday evening, will ask Limerick City Council to honour his colleagues for their bravery.

"I've been in the fire service 20 years and this was one of the best rescues and the toughest rescues I've been involved in on the river," he said.

"These two lads put their own lives at risk to save a life, and there should be some kind of recognition or a medal for what they did."

hnews@herald.ie


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