A recently promoted member of An Garda Síochána dived into the sea to rescue a man from a car that had driven off a pier.
The near-tragedy happened on Sunday night in Ballyvaughan, Co Clare when a vehicle entered the water and began to sink.
Garda Sergeant John Casey had just begun his shift at Ennistymon station while colleague Sgt Marie Crowley was ending hers when the call came in.
The pair raced to the scene and on arrival saw that a car had entered the water at the pier in Ballyvaughan.
Sgt Casey, who only last week transferred to Ennistymon on promotion from Ennis, stripped down and jumped into the water to save the driver. A local man, John McDonald, also jumped in to help Sgt Casey.
The car was sinking quickly at the time. However, Sgt Casey and Mr McDonald managed to pull the heavy-set man from the vehicle and bring him to the shore.
A nurse from the local health centre, Ailish Hynes, provided first aid until ambulance paramedics arrived. The unnamed man was later transferred to University Hospital Galway for treatment.
Superintendent Martin McGonnell of Kilrush said: “I am very proud of my members and locals for their quick actions. Sgt Casey stripped off and jumped straight in to save this man. Local man John McDonald also jumped in and both managed to get the man out the car.”
“Apart from a tragedy being averted, it was great to see locals and gardaí work together in an emergency. Sgt Casey and Mr McDonald did a very brave thing and everyone else who was there to help did great work too,” Supt McGonnell added.
Sgt Casey, who worked in the detective branch at Ennis station until earlier this month, returned to Ennistymon station where he changed his clothes and returned to duty.
“My members carried out their duties in the best tradition of An Garda Síochána, that is to protect and save life. This incident was a great example of how An Garda and the local community can work together in such circumstances. What Sgt Casey and Mr McDonald did was very brave and took great courage,” Supt McGonnell added.
Speaking about the drama, Sgt Casey said: “The incident unfolded in front of us and any member of the gardaí who would have been present would have done the same thing.
“Most of the credit should go to John McDonald. He was first into the water and he was quick to notice that the window of the car was open. He performed heroically himself.”
Mr McDonald said “I was just outside the pub and saw the car go into the water so I legged it. I didn’t think, I just ran down the pier and jumped in.”
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