Mollie Tamara Powell, 16, a member of Co Dublin’s Rush 38th Scouts and Sean Thompson, 16, from 6th Wexford Tuskar Sea Scouts, rescued the boy from the Dim Cay River in Mahmutlar, Turkey, where they are on holiday with their families.
They went to the boy’s aid during the incident on Tuesday and pulled him from the water, even clearing his airways and preparing to do CPR before a nurse, who was also on holiday, took over. The boy, now in recovery, was taken to hospital.
Sean said: “There was some fear involved. I was afraid to dive in but that feeling disappeared and my instinct kicked in when I realised what I had to do. I am vision impaired with poor sight but I was still able to do this equally as good as someone with full vision.
“It was scary looking down at the boy. He is only around 14. He is in our own age group. All we knew was we had to keep his head above water and get him out of the water.”
Sean, who attends Bridge Town College in Wexford, said that because it was around 1pm, most of the Turkish residents nearby were having lunch, and the river is a spot mostly used by local children.
The family say that the young boy had jumped into the river and banged his head, while his younger cousin, a boy aged around 10, had also suffered a head injury and was also being treated.
The Turkish boy has no clue he was rescued by Irish teenagers — and now they are planning to visit him when he is well enough and present him with an Irish scouting T-Shirt to remember them by.
Mollie, a Lusk Community College student, said: “It was instinct to save the boy. I saw him and don’t know what went through my head apart from I have to get the child out of the water.
“I feel we did what any decent person would’ve done. If another scout was there they’d have done it. My training definitely helped and I have to give mention to Rush 38th Scouts for teaching me what to do.”
As Sean swam to land with the boy, Mollie stood on steps, helping to pull him out of the water.
Both Sean and Mollie have been attending the scouts for around 10 years. Their parents are all involved in the movement — and Sean’s mother, Olga Thompson, 46, said the pair had “jumped into action without even knowing what the other was doing”.
Mollie added: “I don’t feel like a hero, I feel any decent person would have done what we did.”
As the teenage scouts rescued the boy, their siblings and friends, Sean’s younger brother, Brendan, 11, also a sea scout, and Mollie’s sister, Mia, 11, a land scout, along with two other young people, Ben Hughes, 15, and Chloe Duffy, 20, took control of the situation near the water, ushering children away.
Ian Carey, County Commissioner for Fingal Scout County, said the actions of Mollie and Sean “are an inspiration to scouts and all young people”.