THE heroic actions of Limerick city man Niall O’Shaughnessy, now a New York based paramedic, have made headlines on both sides of the Atlantic this week.
The 38-year-old New York City Fire Department paramedic, originally from O’Connell Avenue and now living on Long Island, braved the treacherous waters of the Hudson River for a second time this week, saving a woman who was drowning in the process.
His family, who live in Limerick, have spoken of their pride at the New York paramedic’s actions in a job his niece Kate O’Shaughnessy said was “his dream to do, and he’s very dedicated to it”.
“We’re all so proud of his achievements, especially his parents and his brother and sister. It’s not his first time risking his life for the job, and I’m sure it won’t be his last,” added Kate of her uncle, a ten year veteran with the FDNY.
Niall and his paramedic partner Moses Nelson, saved a woman from the turbulent waters of the Hudson River this Monday. The Limerickman dove into the tidal waters of the Hudson - known for its strong currents - to help bring a woman, believed to be in her 20s or 30s, to safety, after she was seen struggling in the water.
After being called to the scene at Pier 25 in Manhattan this Monday, the paramedics found that members of the Parks Department had thrown a flotation device to the woman and were attempting to bring her to shore.
“I realized that she was exhausted and she was having a hard time handling the life ring properly,” said Niall. “I was worried she was about to go under water for good.”
The 38-year-old paramedic then dived into the Hudson and swam to the woman, giving her assistance, while his partner co-ordinated the rescue from dry land.
“She was very nervous initially but I told her additional FDNY members were coming to help her,” said Niall.
His partner said: “As a Rescue Paramedic, we are trained for this. We shouldn’t be considered heroes, this is our job.”
After bringing the woman to shore, she was transferred to hospital, where she was described as being in a stable condition.
The FDNY said this was the second rescue that Paramedic O’Shaughnessy has been involved in on the Hudson River. In August 2014, he also helped save a patient in cardiac arrest during the New York City Triathlon.
And also last year, he jumped onto a Manhattan subway track to save Mary Downey, an Irish woman who had become trapped between two train cars.