Vicky Morey, her husband John, and 10-year-old son, Evan, were having a ball on the beach in Youghal, Co Cork, one of Ireland’s finest strands.
“It was a beautiful day,” said Vicky. “Evan and I were in the water and swimming away to our heart’s content.”
It was around 5pm and Vicky did not realise that the tide was turning. Mother and son were having a great time when, almost imperceptibly, they were dragged further and further from shore.
“Without warning, the tide began to drag us out,” said Vicky. “All at once, I couldn’t put my feet on the ground. Evan was the same. We got an awful fright.”
Evan began to panic and called out to his mother: “Mammy it is pulling me back.”
Vicky could see that he was struggling. “There were some girls nearby who were moving with the tide and I called out. I cried for help to get my son out of the water. I didn’t really think about myself, but I knew Evan needed help. I could do nothing for him, even though I can swim. The current was too strong.
“I called out to God and began thinking what prayers to say.”
Help came in the form of a teenage boy, Adam Horgan, a 15-year-old from Little Island in Cork.
Adam didn’t notice anything amiss at first.
“I was at the edge of the water with my cousins when one of them heard a woman calling for help. I didn’t think about anything, just got out there. The two of them were being dragged towards what looks like a rock but is actually a pipe.
“I got the son first as he was nearest and seemed to be struggling and I pulled him onto the pipe. He ran along it to shore. Then I went back for his mum and helped her swim towards the beach,” said Adam, a third-year student at Glanmire Community College.
“He appeared out of nowhere,” said Vicky.
“I had struck something, a piece of rock, and I began kicking but it seemed useless. He got Evan out of the water and put him sitting on the rock. There was Evan screaming at me as I was being pulled and pushed away from him. Then, incredibly, he swam back for me.”
The Moreys, who live in Dromina, near Charleville in North Cork, would not normally have been in Youghal. “John’s sister was staying there for a week and we knew that Evan would love to be with his cousins, so we drove to Youghal.”
The couple had not been there in years and they both feel that mother and son would have drowned if it not had been for the young lad’s bravery.
“I couldn’t believe it. Adam was so strong and so assured and confident in what he was doing, even though he was just a young fellow,” said Vicky, who had already lost a little girl in infancy and dreaded the thought of losing another child.
“My son and I owe him our lives,” said Vicky as she tended to the scratches and scrapes she and Evan endured on the pipe, which was encrusted with barnacles.
Following the ordeal, she told Neil Prendeville on 96fm radio: “I just want people to know that this boy saved our lives.”
Speaking later to the Irish Examiner, Vicky reiterated her gratitude to her rescuer.
“I do not know if he realised he had saved two people’s lives. All I want to do is to let people know what this boy did for two complete strangers. He deserves recognition. It all happened so fast that I didn’t get the chance to thank him properly. He is a real hero.”