Cork rescuers among 42 honoured for bravery at Irish Water Safety awards

Fisheries officers Martin Dennehy and David McCarthy, from Cork, were among 42 remarkable rescuers honoured yesterday at a ceremony in Dublin Castle for their brave life-saving acts.

Cork rescuers among 42 honoured for bravery at Irish Water Safety awards

They had saved the life of a fisherman who slipped into Lough Bofinne, near Bantry, Co Cork, last September.

All of the rescuers, who between them saved 28 lives in 24 dramatic near-death incidents, were praised for their brave and selfless actions at an Irish Water Safety’s awards.

Fishery inspectors Mr Dennehy and Mr McCarthy had been on patrol at Lough Bofinne, a 25-acre clear water lake when they heard cries for help.

Mr Dennehy recalled they were at the top end of the lake when they saw a man in the water. Due to the way the man had fallen in, he was still holding his rod and kicking his feet and had ended up in the middle of the lake.

“We told him to turn on his back and then we threw a rope out to him. We managed to pull him in but he turned over so we had to go out to him.”

The man, who had been fishing with his son, lost consciousness briefly. “He was about seven or eight metres from the shore but, together with his son, we managed to take him from the water.”

Mr Dennehy said it was about six metres deep where the man fell in.

“He slipped off the rock where he was fishing and went into the water but because of the way he was kicking his legs and holding his rod he ended up in the middle of the lake.

"David and I are quite familiar with the area so we were able to respond very quickly. He was very fortunate we were there at the time.”

The two officers took the man to hospital where he made a full recovery.

Also honoured was Erika McCarthy, a member of Cork Surf Lifesaving who, last August while training at Inchydoney beach near Clonakilty heard a faint cry for help in the distance.

She turned back and came upon a couple in difficulty.

"Erika managed to calm the man and encourage him to swim towards the shore while she carried the woman.

"As she was swimming closer to shore she came upon a colleague and told him to take the woman back on his board while she continued to encourage the man to swim to the shore.

Garda John Power and Garda John Foote, meanwhile, were also honoured for saving a person who had fallen into the River Suir in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, last February.

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