THE Mayor of Limerick has praised the heroic actions of a fireman who put his own life at risk by swimming several hundred metres into the River Shannon near the city centre to save a man from drowning.
The alarm was raised shortly after 1.30 on Wednesday afternoon when the man was seen by passers-by entering the water at Shannon Bridge.
Emergency services were immediately deployed and members of the fire service arrived on the scene within minutes.
One of them - firefighter Eli Brace, who is a member of the Swiftwater Rescue Team - jumped into water at Limerick Docks in an effort to rescue the man, who was struggling to stay afloat.
“By the time we arrived at the scene he (the man) was actually down by the Docks and he was about fifty metres out in the flow of water so Eli had to swim after him,” explained station officer Greg Costelloe who said the man would, most likely, have died but for the quick actions of his colleague.
“When he got to him, we couldn’t tow him back out so he supported him and he travelled downstream for about three or four hundred metres before he could find a good place to get out so he was in the water for quite a while but he was dressed in a dry suit and he had all the gear,” he said.
The man was taken to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital after he was brought ashore but his condition is not life threatening. Eli Brace joined the Limerick Fire service almost three years ago and he is based at Mulgrave Street fire station,
Mayor Maria Byrne, says the actions of the young fireman were nothing short of heroic.
“I do believe that our firefighters go above and beyond the call of duty almost every day and to put his own life in danger the way he did to save that man is something that deserves to be acknowledged,” she said.