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Friday 18 January 2019

Heroes awarded for saving lives

The heroes of the Duncannon beach rescue receive their awards
The heroes of the Duncannon beach rescue receive their awards

David Looby

Six County Wexford residents have been honoured for saving lives off the County Wexford coast.

Thirty-six lives were saved from drowning by rescuers across the country who received recognition at Irish Water Safety's National Awards Ceremony in Dublin Castle, on Wednesday.

On July 2 twin sisters were playing on an inflated floatable device at the edge of the shore at Duncannon Beach on a family day out when the wind caught the device and swept them further out. Their father Tomek immediately swam after it and one of his daughters jumped towards him.

Hugh Burke, who received a call about this incident, immediately got his boat and went to the scene, as did Brendan Butler and Eamon Doyle.

Hugh took the remaining girl from the inflated floatable device. Meanwhile, another person entered the water to take the first daughter from the father and brought her to shore. He returned to the water to go back for Tomek but got into difficulty himself. Meanwhile, John Byrne, who has lifesaving skills, entered the water with two ringbuoys. He swam to the man in difficulty and gave him a ringbuoy and then proceeded to swim towards Tomek to bring him safely to shore. John re-entered the water and managed to bring the man with the other ringbuoy to shore.

Six days later Garda Daniel Hayden and Garda David Ryan were alerted that a female was in distress in the water at Blackhall Strand, Bannow. Both gardaí immediately entered the water and brought the woman to safety.

Mr Seán Canney TD, Minister of State at the Department of Rural & Community Development presented the 'Seiko Just in Time Rescue Award' to the rescuers in appreciation for saving lives.

Minister Canney said: 'It is an honour to pay tribute to these courageous recipients. 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.'

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