QUICK-THINKING members of the public were on hand to assist in the rescue of a woman who had entered the Shannon on Sunday evening.
She was one of two distressed females hauled from the icy water by members of Limerick Fire and Rescue Service in simultaneous but separate operations at around 6.30pm.
Tony Cosgrove, station officer, said the emergency call had come in at 6.22pm and three units were at the waterside within five minutes.
Two crews had gone directly to Howley’s Quay while the other had gone to Steamboat Quay where Limerick Fire and Rescue Service’s new semi-rigid power boat is berthed.
“On arrival at Poor Man’s Kilkee, the woman who had been in the water was being assisted by members of the public who had thrown in a ring buoy and had her pulled nearly to the top when rescue crews took over,” said Mr Cosgrove.
Meanwhile, as the third crew was preparing to launch the boat at Steamboat Quay, they saw a second woman climbing down a ladder into the Shannon. The firemen were able to grab her before she could do so. Both women were treated quayside before being taken to University Hospital Limerick.
The scene was also attended by gardai, ambulance crews, Coast Guard personnel with the Shannon-based helicopter and volunteers from Limerick Marine Search and Rescue.
Mr Cosgrove praised those members of the public for their decisive action and said the incident highlighted the importance of the recent campaign against interfering with or vandalising water safety equipment.
It proved to be a busy day for the volunteers from Limerick Marine Search and Rescue as the evening call was their third of the day.
A post on their Facebook page said: “Limerick Marine Search and Rescue Service was paged this morning by the Coast Guard to two incidents – the first, a boat in difficulty on the Abbey River which was towed to St Michael’s Rowing Club slipway and the second call was a kayaker in difficulty at Curragower Falls”.
It was the second time in a weekend that emergency services responded to an incident involving a kayaker in trouble in the Limerick area. A young man who broke his shoulder in an accident in the Clare Glens on Saturday was evacuated after members of South Eastern Mountain Rescue abseiled into the gorge to rescue him during a three-hour operation.