Teen who died trying to save girls from drowning awarded posthumous bravery medal

Teenager Ricky Osagie, who died trying to save two girls from drowning, was remembered yesterday as the National Bravery Awards were presented in Dublin.

Teen who died trying to save girls from drowning awarded posthumous bravery medal

The only gold medal awarded posthumously was to the 13-year-old, an avid soccer player who had been chosen for the FAI Emerging Talent Programme.

Ricky was playing with his friends in June 2014 when they noticed the girls struggling in a manmade lake in Blanchardstown, Co Dublin.

His friends Lee Weir, Sam Musu, Yosuf Bologun, and Ionut Plesca, who were able to rescue the girls, all got certificates of bravery.

Lee re-entered the water to look for Ricky but could not see anything because the water was too muddy. Other bystanders also entered the lake, but to no avail.

The two girls recovered after been taken to hospital but, tragically, Ricky was pronounced dead the following morning.

His family accepted the gold medal — the highest award possible — in recognition of his courage, during the ceremony at Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park.

Charles Musa, Patience Braimoh, Jeff Odea, and Kelly Osagie, family members of Ricky Osagie, who received a posthumous award.

Charles Musa, Patience Braimoh, Jeff Odea, and Kelly Osagie, family members of Ricky Osagie, who received a posthumous award.

His father, Keli, said Ricky loved his life and his friends and was turning out to be a very promising football player.

“I would like people to remember him as a brave person who got into the water to save two girls and lost his life,” he said.

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl presented 29 awards in recognition of outstanding acts of bravery.

“The great sacrifices made by our recipients deserve to be celebrated and recognised and, today, we thank each of them for their heroism,” said Mr Ó Feargháil.

He said the people who received awards had put their own lives at risk to save others and it was especially sad Ricky had lost his life.

Mr Ó Feargháil said Ricky was just one of 10 recipients of gold medals since the National Bravery Awards were established in 1947 to recognise deeds of courage.

Meanwhile, John Connors received a silver medal for rescuing his young nephew from a fire at a halting site in Carrickmines, Dublin, that killed 10 members of his Traveller family, one of whom was pregnant.

John Connors with his nephews Michael and Thomas at the National Bravery Awards held at Farmleigh House yesterday. John received a silver medal for rescuing Thomas from a fire at a halting site in Carrickmines, Dublin Pictures: Maxwells

John Connors with his nephews Michael and Thomas at the National Bravery Awards held at Farmleigh House yesterday. John received a silver medal for rescuing Thomas from a fire at a halting site in Carrickmines, Dublin Pictures: Maxwells

Just over two years ago since the tragedy, John was reluctant to talk about his act of bravery. He regrets he was only able to save one person. “It would have been a lot better if I had saved them all. It would have been a lot better if they were all here with me,” he said.

Asked how he was getting on, he said: “Not the best but I just have to keep trying.”

The Connors family Margaret, Dan, Chantelle O’Brien, Mary, John, and front, Michael and Tom, at the awards yesterday.

The Connors family Margaret, Dan, Chantelle O’Brien, Mary, John, and front, Michael and Tom, at the awards yesterday.

Another silver medal recipient was Davitt Walsh, who saved a baby from drowning at the pier in Buncrana, Co Donegal, earlier this year. Five members of the one family died in the incident.

Mr Walsh, reluctant to talk about his act of bravery, had swum out to a car that was in the water and took the baby from the driver as the vehicle started to go down. He lost his grip on another child he was trying to pull to safety.

Bronze medals were awarded to two gardaí who rescued a man from a fire in Castlefin, Co Donegal, in May 2012.

Billy Cronin, right, who received a certificate of bravery, with his family Eilish, Gavin, Billy, and Penny.

Billy Cronin, right, who received a certificate of bravery, with his family Eilish, Gavin, Billy, and Penny.

Sgt Mattie Murphy and Garda John Prunty were called to a fire in a housing estate. A man had barricaded himself in the house and threatened to harm himself and others.

Sgt Murphy said it was essential they entered the house and got the man out — together, they forced open the front door.

Facing danger from the fire and a potentially violent man, the gardaí made their way through the hall by crawling through the smoke, checking each room as they passed.

Garda Eoghan O’Neill, awarded a certificate of bravery for rescuing a woman from the sea, with his son Faolan, 2.

Garda Eoghan O’Neill, awarded a certificate of bravery for rescuing a woman from the sea, with his son Faolan, 2.

They found the young man lying unconscious on the floor and brought him to a safe area at the front of the house.

“Once we established there was an immediate danger with the smell of gas and fumes in the house we knew we had to act fairly quick,” said Sgt Murphy. “Trying to get a good resolution to the situation was the main priority. So we did not think twice about it.”

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