THE quick actions of two Limerick firemen, who rescued a man from ‘treacherous’ river waters, have been praised.
At around 7pm on Monday evening, three units of the Limerick City Fire and Rescue service were dispatched to an incident beside Barrington’s Hospital at George’s Quay, where a man in his 30s was believed to be threatening to jump into the water.
When the firefighters approached the man, he jumped in, leading to the rescue, which came despite “treacherous” water conditions on the Abbey.
The fire fighters, who were wearing swift water rescue equipment, swam to the man, reached him within seconds and brought him to safety at the Curragower boat club.
He was then transferred to hospital, where his condition was described as not life-threatening.
One of the firemen, Des Fitzgerald, 42, said: “It was flying, it was very fast flowing and cold. All we were thinking was to get him out, and warmed up, so the ambulance could take over.”
The other firefighter, Colum McCarthy, explained that Limerick Fire and Rescue Service have bought a boat to help with such scenarios.
“We are getting more river calls. Every year, the number of river calls we get is going up. We recently purchased a boat, it is not on the run yet, it is moored in the Shannon. It came in because of volume of calls we were getting,” he explained.
Pat Connolly, station officer, said the service can expect between 30 and 40 calls for river rescues in Limerick each year.
“We get a lot more now,” he said. “Particularly at this time of year, coming up to Christmas period. It is quite prevalent. It does happen quite a bit.
“From what I was told, the conditions were quite bad last night. The water was fast, and there was a heavy tail. But all is well that ends well. He was saved, and the boys got out of it okay.”
City Mayor Michael Sheahan praised the actions of the firemen.
“What they did yesterday, no words could describe the bravery, unselfishness and skill in such difficult circumstances, in a most difficult stretch of water. For those men and their supporters to go straight in without a thought for their safety is wonderful,” he said.