AN instant decision to go into the Bandon River to rescue a man saw Brian Murphy from Bandon recognised for his bravery at the National Bravery Awards, which took place in Farmleigh House last Friday.
Brian was one of 29 individuals who were presented with awards in recognition of their outstanding acts of bravery by Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó’Fearghaíl at the special awards ceremony.
Brian, who is a member of Bandon Civil Defence and works with Mark Troy Agricultural Contractors, was driving a tractor over Innishannon Bridge in May 2015 when he noticed a wheelchair down on the side of the road.
‘I recognised the wheelchair as I had been involved in a previous search for that man and then I noticed he was heading towards the river,’ Brian told The Southern Star.
‘I rang the gardaí immediately and parked my tractor and then I saw the man was entering the river, so I threw off my jumper and jumped into the river after him. I was able to reach him and bring him back towards the shore and, by then, a guard had arrived and helped me bring him to shore.’
Brian said it was just an instant reaction to go into the river and, as he is an experienced swimmer, he knew the man could have drowned within seconds.
‘When we got to the shore the ambulance was there and they checked to see me was I fine, which I was and I was just soaked so I rang my brother-in-law Eric Murphy to bring me a change of clothes.’
After the gardaí took his name, Brian went home had a shower and went back to work as normal where his workmates heard about his brave deed.
‘Someone actually nominated me for the awards and I don’t know who it was, but it was lovely to be recognised for it and it was great to meet the other people who were nominated.’
Brian’s wife Olive, their daughter Isabelle and his mother Irene Murphy attended the awards ceremony with him and they are immensely proud of his selfless deed.