Former League of Ireland footballer lauded as 'true hero' after saving baby from Buncrana tragedy
An ex-League of Ireland footballer has recounted how he swam into the water to rescue a baby from drowning after a car plunged into the water at Buncrana Pier.
Four-month old Rionaghac-Ann was the only survivor after the accident last night, which resulted in the death of the five other passengers.
Davitt Walsh, who played for Finn Harps, Bohemians and Shelbourne in the League of Ireland, spoke to RTE this evening about how he managed to swim out to the car and bring the infant back to shore alive.
"I looked and saw the car and we went down to help right away," Walsh said.
"I looked out and I could see the distress on the family. The father and the mother and the children were all screaming 'help, help, help'. I didn't really think. I took off my clothes and swam out as fast as I could.
"I started shouting 'please everyone get out of the car, the car is going to go down'. At that stage the window broke and the water started seeping in and the father handed me the baby infant and said 'take the baby'. I wanted to help more people but the water started coming in and he just looked at me and said 'save my baby' and I took the baby and I held it above my head and I swam back to shore."
Walsh's heroism in the face of such a devastating tragedy has been widely praised, with many people calling him a 'hero'.
How awfully awfully sad. Davitt Walsh is a hero and did everything he could do. I hope in time he realises... https://t.co/YJ4lor9Tek— Ian O'Flynn (@ioflynn) March 21, 2016
Davitt Walsh is a true hero. In the sheer sadness of this story, we've also seen the good that exists in people. https://t.co/lNMBV5TNO9— Carl Mullan - 2XM (@CarlMullan) March 21, 2016
Astonishing bravery and selflessness from Davitt Walsh who rescued baby Rionaghac-Ann from #Buncrana pier tragedy— James McNamara (@jimmymac100) March 21, 2016
Unbelievably good interviews on @rtenews tonight. Such horrendous scenes from Buncrana.What a man Davitt Walsh is for the family +locals.— Ronan O Gara (@RonanOGara10) March 21, 2016