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Heroes who were 'just in time' honoured for extraordinary rescues

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Finn Bell Ryan, from Limerick, received an Irish Water Safety Just In Time award for saving a three-year-old from drowning

Finn Bell Ryan, from Limerick, received an Irish Water Safety Just In Time award for saving a three-year-old from drowning

Finn Bell Ryan, from Limerick, received an Irish Water Safety Just In Time award for saving a three-year-old from drowning

Heroes who put their lives on the line to save others from drowning have been rewarded at a glitzy ceremony.

The Irish Water Safety (IWS) Awards paid tribute to 36 lifesavers who committed extraordinary acts of bravery.

They included Finn Bell Ryan, from Limerick, who was just eight when he saved the life of a three-year-old boy while on holiday in Portugal.

Finn noticed the boy in difficulty in a swimming pool and jumped in to pull the child out.

Also receiving a Just In Time award was Kelvin Kearns, from Kilmeaden, Co Waterford.

He spotted an accident while driving in Butlerstown, Co Waterford, in September last year.

An elderly man had been driving along the road in treacherous conditions and lost control before veering off the road and down a ravine, into a deep stream.

Mr Kearns found the car had flipped over with the pensioner stuck inside.

He managed to pull the man from the car but was unable to free him fully and so held him up until emergency services arrived.

Courageous

Asked about the feat, Mr Kearns said: "I was just coming out the road, I didn't know what happened, I didn't know what prompted me.

"I didn't think about anything. I don't know what was going on in my head but my body was just doing stuff," he added.

An average of 127 people die in Ireland every year as a result of drowning - and the figure could be a much higher, according to Rural and Community Development Minister Sean Canney.

"It is an honour to pay tribute to these courageous recipients," Mr Canney said.

"Tragically an average of 127 people drown in Ireland every year and although that's 127 too many, the figure would be even higher but for the dramatic efforts of these individuals who saved others from drowning, and the ongoing work of Irish Water Safety volunteers teaching swimming and water rescue skills."

Campaigner

Another hero was Martin Cullinane, from Cork, who became the face of the Irish Water Safety Campaign after he saved the lives of two young brothers during the summer.

The boys, aged five and six, were in serious difficulty in dangerous tidal waters at Mariner's Quay, in Passage West, Co Cork.

Mr Cullinane dived in wearing his pyjamas to rescue them.

The campaign encourages parents to ensure their children learn to swim.


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