Cork river rescue hero was ‘pumped with adrenaline’

A man who pulled two young boys from a Cork river on Saturday afternoon said adrenaline spurred his actions as he dived into the currents to save them.

Martin Cullinane

Martin Cullinane was in his girlfriend’s apartment in Passage West when he realised that the two boys, understood to be brothers aged around six and seven, had got into difficulty.

“My girlfriend’s apartment is on the first floor so her balcony overlooks the water,” Mr Cullinane told Neil Prendeville on Red FM.

“We heard a bit of commotion and when I looked through the window I saw two little boys in the water. There didn’t seem to be anybody else around, there were another two boys on the pier screaming. So I ran downstairs and dived in.

“The first guy was only about five metres out and he was actually preventing me getting to the second fella so I had to bring him back first.”

Mr Cullinane said a man who arrived on the pier helped pull the first boy out of the water.

“Then I went back over the other guy,” he said. “He was further out but he was lifeless and there was all kind of foam coming out of his mouth.”

He got back to the pier where the man pulled both of them out of the water. At this stage, Mr Cullinane said the boy was having difficulty breathing.

He said he cannot remember if the water was cold.

“Running down the stairs and out the apartments, by the time I got to the water I was so pumped with adrenaline that you don’t feel much of anything,” he said. “That night I went back upstairs, had a shower, and opened a beer.”

Another caller to the show, Brian, said he arrived on the pier and put one of the boys in the recovery position, where he got sick, before the emergency services arrived. He paid tribute to Mr Cullinane.

“If he wasn’t in the water to help them, that child wouldn’t be with us today,” said Brian.

Mr Cullinane said he called Cork University Hospital to check on the boys’ progress, and was told they were sitting up and eating tea and toast.

Local councillor Marcia D’Alton said she will raise the issue of quayside railings in Passage West at the next municipal district meeting.

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