VIDEO: Divers cut response times to 90 seconds

Rescue divers in Limerick, who aim to prevent suicides on the River Shannon, are to cut their response times to just 90 seconds, with the help of a new floating pontoon, launched yesterday.

Suicide attempts among men, women, and teenagers have reached crisis levels in Limerick, with barely a week passing without someone jumping into the river.

Limerick Marine Search and Rescue Service (LMSRS) yesterday launched the new €70,000 floating pontoon on the city’s quays. It will speed up the time it takes to reach a likely casualty.

Two of the service’s members are father and son team, Tony and Tom Cusack.

“My father kind of knows what I’m thinking and I know what he’s thinking,” Tom, 33, explained.

“We’re fairly close like that. And we work very well together underwater as well,” he said.

The advantage of their close bond becomes invaluable when one, or both, don’t make it to a victim on time.

“The low points are definitely recovering bodies, and seeing the families...the aftermath that’s left behind with families being so upset. It’s something I’ve never got used to,” Tom said.

“My dad’s experience has been essential for me over the years. He has gone through it all and he knows about the stress that can come with recovering bodies,” he added.

Tony, 61, and a founding member of LMSRS, said: “I’m very proud of my four children, but Tom always showed an interest in (LMSRS).”

“He’s a great diver. It takes constant training though.”

Paying tribute to local philanthropist and horse racing tycoon JP McManus for fitting the bill for the new pontoon, Tony added: “It’s been my dream for the service to have something like this for many years.

“I’d like to thank JP McManus for helping us. It means we will cut our response times to about 90 seconds.”


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