A homeless man who jumped into the River Lee, triggering a seven-hour search-and-rescue operation, is receiving psychiatric treatment after being coaxed from a hiding place under a bridge.
The 35-year-old man, who is originally from Dublin but who had been availing of the services of homelessness agencies in Cork City for some time, was arrested for his own safety after being talked out from under Parnell Bridge by specialist garda negotiators on Saturday afternoon.
He was detained under the provisions of the Mental Treatment Act and taken to the Bridewell Garda station where he was examined by a doctor.
He was then taken to Cork University Hospital where he was still receiving psychiatric treatment last night.
The man (unseen) is taken ashore by rescue services after garda negotiators coaxed him down.
The alarm was raised at around 7.20am on Saturday after reports that a man was seen entering the south channel of the River Lee, near Parnell Bridge.
Gardaí, ambulances, and members of Cork City Fire Brigade rushed to the scene, and the Irish Coast Guard and RNLI were tasked, as a full-scale multi-agency search operation was launched.
Rescue Operation at Parnell Bridge, Cork.
The crew on board Crosshaven RNLI’s inshore boat arrived within minutes and the Coast Guard’s Waterford-based rescue helicopter was also tasked.
The aircraft, which costs up to €1,400 an hour to keep in the air, conducted several sweeps of the river until mid-morning. Members of the Mallow search-and-rescue unit began diving operations at around 9am and found items of clothing near the bridge.
Despite low-tide water levels of up to 1.5m, there was no trace of a body.
Hopes were fading of finding the casualty when shouts were heard coming from under the bridge at around 12pm. When the Crosshaven lifeboat crew went to investigate, they spotted the man sitting naked on one of several concrete beams which run between the bridge supports.
It is believed he had wedged himself into a tight space between the underside of the bridge and its Lapp’s Quay support structure early that morning.
One source said that if he had not shouted out, he could have stayed hiding there indefinitely without being seen by rescuers and divers operating just below him.
The man was in a distressed state, became verbally abusive to rescuers, and garda negotiators were called in.
Dozens of people lined the quays as gardaí tried to coax him down. The drama ended at 2.15pm when he was arrested. The entire operation was then stood down.
A man who hid under a bridge for 7 hours after jumping in to river Lee has been removed & arrested, undergoing medical treatment #Cork— Eoin English (@EoinBearla) March 21, 2015
A spokesman for the Coast Guard said while it had been a long search operation, they were happy the event had concluded successfully and that the man was receiving medical attention.
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