US tourist rescued after Blarney Castle heart attack thanks people who saved his life

Joy and David Motte, from North Carolina, at Cork University Hospital where David is recovering well.

The US tourist who was airlifted from the top of Blarney Castle after going into cardiac arrest has issued an emotional thank you to the people who saved his life.

David Motte, 59, from North Carolina, said he has forged a special bond with the Irish people, and said he and his wife, Joy, will never be able to thank everyone enough.

“I probably shouldn’t be here right now, but the fact that I am is testimony to the great work those people did on Friday,” he said. “The fact that everyone was so prepared... I am ever so grateful. I owe my life to them.”

Speaking from his hospital bed in Cork University Hospital (CUH) last night, he said: “I, we, have been trying to thank everyone. But I don’t think we will ever be able to thank them enough.

“I cannot tell you how caring and gracious the people have been. The people we have met are just so wonderful.

“We were in dire circumstances, and we have just been so touched by the outpouring of support, and by the love and concern people have shown.

“We have fallen in love with Ireland. I have formed a special bond with the people of Ireland.”

The couple arrived in Ireland last Tuesday, on their first visit here, to explore Joy’s Irish heritage, and were a few steps from the top of Blarney Castle last Friday morning when David collapsed.

Castle staff, who are trained in first aid, gave immediate assistance before Jeremy Downey, a volunteer with Blarney Community First Responders who was working nearby, arrived on scene, followed soon afterwards by National Ambulance Service paramedics.

They administered CPR and used a defibrillator and revived him.

However, given the location and David’s critical condition, an airlift was called.

The Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter, Rescue 115, winched David from the top of the castle and transferred him to a waiting ambulance, which rushed him to CUH.

Mr Motte, who works in management in a large bank, is awaiting the outcome of tests today, which will determine whether he needs treatment here, or can return home.

“I have little recollection of the incident itself,” he said. “It’s a big blur, but what I do have is wonderful memories of what these people have done for me, and for the love and concern people have shown to us. We are just overwhelmed by the caring, gracious people of Ireland.”

Joy said she had feared the worst on Friday.

“I wasn’t sure that day whether I would be going home alone,” she said.

“You would think the top of a castle would be the worst place to have a heart attack — it turned out to be the best.

“Everybody has been so awesome. I’ve been blown away by the outpouring of love and support. It was just incredible that everyone was where they needed to be on Friday and helped save his life.”

Joy has been staying with Blarney First Responders volunteer Kate Durrant since the incident and praised the support she had received from people such as Grainne McSweeney, who liaised with the hotel in the hours after David’s collapse, and Martin O’Shea, who offered to return the couple’s hire car.

Ms Durrant said: “It’s a wonderful day when a man becomes seriously ill, yet leaves the village alive, thanks to the staff at Blarney Castle and our own first-responders.

“He received first-class and life-saving care in those critical first few minutes, thanks to the commitment locally to learn effective CPR and AED use.”

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