Caller’s fury at response to city drowning incident

The Department of Communications has responded to social media criticism over the time it took to pinpoint the location of a drowning man in Cork City.

The man, believed to be aged 19 or 20 and from the northside of the city, entered the River Lee near Christy Ring Bridge just before 5am on Sunday morning. As of yesterday, his body had not been recovered, despite a number of searches.

Shortly after the incident on Sunday morning, an entry appeared on Facebook from a man who said he saw the tragedy unfold.

“Just saw a guy drown,” he wrote. “I called emergency services and asked for cork city services, I asked for an ambulance and fire brigade... when asked my location I said Patrick’s bridge city centre, I was then asked where that was, could I perhaps name the closest street... I said Patrick street... I was then asked was I in Fermoy or Middleton [sic]... I said Cork City... she said she couldn’t locate it... at this point the guy had drifted as far as Parnell place (just by the bus station) at which point he had gone under...”

The poster said he then told the person on the phone that they were by Cork City bus station on Parnell Place.

“She responded... nope, can’t find that either... Somebody on the other side of the river had rang too as we ran into each other on the bridge... his call arrived... but the guy was gone... what’s the fuckin point in having emergency service numbers when they treat you like your ordering a fuckin pizza and that time is not a factor on the fuckin phone... and... how fuckin slow do you have to be to not be able to find Patricks fucking Bridge if your the operator for Cork fuckin City... Finally to the guy who was in the water I’m sorry.”

The Emergency Call Answering Service (ECAS) is operated on a day-to-day basis by BT Ireland under an agreement with the Department of Communications, Energy, and& Natural Resources.

The department said it was aware of the Facebook post and said the call in question had been reviewed.

A spokesman said: “I am advised that ECAS identified from the caller that the ambulance service was required in Cork in 15 seconds.

“The call was forwarded to the ambulance service and answered within five seconds.

“The subsequent engagement was managed by the ambulance service.”


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