Dungarvan to honour schoolboy who saved woman’s life

A 16-year-old boy who jumped into a river and pulled a drowning woman to safety will be honoured for his courage in the wake of a near-tragedy.

Fifth-year student Dylan Murphy dived into the River Colligan in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, and used life- saving skills his grandad had taught him years before to save a woman’s life.

The rescue happened in December during the height of Storm Desmond. Recalling the event, Dylan says he was just finishing up a shift at the local Anchor Bar at 2am when a work colleague, Clodagh Murphy, decided to go home early. When she was leaving the pub, which is situated directly across the road from Dungarvan Harbour, Ms Murphy saw a woman falling into the quay.

She tried to throw a buoy to the woman. However, it failed to reach her and that was when the schoolboy sprang into action.

“Clodagh came running back into the bar screaming and shouting that someone was after falling into the water.

“We all ran out fast. I was the first one out so I just took off some clothes, my pants, jumper and runners, and I jumped into the water with a buoy in my hand,” Dylan said.

By the time he got out to her, the woman was gone under the water.

“I had to grab her by her leather jacket and lift her up on to the buoy. I told her to hold on to the buoy and I wrapped the rope around her hand.”

Dylan then assisted the woman as another work colleague pulled her to safety.

She has since made a full recovery.

Dylan, who has no official life-saving qualifications, credits his grandfather who taught him basic life-saving skills when he was younger.

Reflecting on the rescue, Dylan said it all happened very fast. “It was an adrenaline rush really. You don’t have time to think in that kind of situation.”

Cllr Damien Geoghegan (FG) put forward a vote of congratulations and a proposal to honour the teenager at last week’s Dungarvan-Lismore Municipal District meeting.

He described it as “an exceptional act of bravery” and said it could have been a very different story were it not for the courage of the young man.

“Anyone that would know the harbour or the quay area in Dungarvan would know just how dangerous it is but Dylan had the confidence to go in and save this woman’s life. It was 2 o’clock in the morning, it was the height of the storms and we all know the weather we were experiencing at that time so it was an absolutely phenomenal thing for Dylan to do and it should certainly be marked by the council,” the former mayor of Dungarvan added.

Cllr Geoghegan said the whole town was proud of Dylan and his actions shone a positive light on young people. The schoolboy will be honoured, along with his work colleagues, at a reception in Dungarvan Chamber.

“It’s an incredible feeling to have saved someone’s life. It makes me feel proud of myself,” Dylan said.


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