A LIMERICK teenager has been a hailed a hero in recent days after he helped save an elderly man’s life while he was surfing in Australia.
Barry Richardson, who is a student at Castletroy College and from Lisnagry, was surfing at Manly beach, Sydney, with his family when a lifeguard alerted surfers that an elderly man was at risk of drowning.
“I was just floating around and I saw the lifeguard fly past me, paddling out. I turned around and saw an elderly man, in his late sixties or seventies, and he was just face-down into the water, limp, and hands spread out in front of him.”
Though he had no experience in saving lives, Barry told the Limerick Leader that he reacted “instinctively” when the lifeguard required help.
“The lifeguard picked him up, slapping his face, trying to talk to him, and to see if he could get a reaction. After a few seconds trying to bring him back to consciousness, he decided to pull him close to the beach.
“There was one or two other surfers with us, and he just shouted for help because, I did hear that, pulling someone out of the water who is unconscious feels like a dead weight. This was true. He was so heavy.”
The teenage hero hooked his arm underneath his left shoulder, and both men swam back towards the beach and placed him on the sand to bring the man back to consciousness.
The elderly man was then taken to the Royal North Shore Hospital for treatment. The concerned teen revisited Manly the following day and met with the same lifeguard, and was told that he was “okay and conscious”.
“But for all I knew, on the day, he was a goner. There was no sign of life in him,” he added.
His father Mike said that he is “very proud” of his son, and that Barry is a “very decent lad”.