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Quick-thinking dad saves boy from drowning at Owenahincha beach

July 26th, 2022 10:30 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Timmy, who is trained in lifesaving, could feel himself and Darragh being dragged out to sea by the current.

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A MAN who was enjoying a family day out at Owenahincha beach was involved in the dramatic rescue of a 12-year-old boy  – his third such rescue.

Timmy O’Driscoll, from Cork city, along with his partner Jenna and their two children, Amelia (8) and Oliver (2), were relaxing on the beach last Sunday, having stayed in Clonakilty the night before.

Timmy said he had been sitting on the beach watching his two children playing in a small paddling pool when he noticed Darragh O’Leary and his friend in the water.

‘They happened to be outside the two flags and a lifeguard approached them and told them to get out because of currents on that section of the beach, and they did. But when he went away they went back in,’ said Timmy.

‘I was watching them and saw one of them going under the water.’

Timmy reacted swiftly when he realised Darragh was struggling and swam out to him.

‘I caught up to him and was trying to keep him above water but I could feel ourselves being dragged out by the current. I held onto him and swam with one hand and got him to kick his legs as we swam inshore and put him on a wave which carried him onto the beach.’

Timmy, who trained in lifesaving at a young age, said both of them remained calm in what was a precarious situation.

‘It took me about 10 minutes to swim back to the shore and thankfully he was fine and didn’t need emergency treatment.

‘It could have been a right disaster and it’s so important people obey the lifeguards and stay between the flags.’

Darragh’s mum, Jacinta O’Leary from Ballincollig later thanked Timmy for his heroic rescue of her son and said it could have been a lot different if he wasn’t on the beach to help him.

Four years ago Timmy  rescued a girl at the Inniscarra Dam, as well as rescuing a man who fell into the River Lee some years previously near Sullivan’s Quay.

Meanwhile, Inchydoney Lifeboat volunteers expressed concern at people swimming in the western channel at Inchydoney beach, which is notorious for its sinking sands, rip currents and sudden changes of water depth.

A juvenile, who entered the channel last week had to be rescued by a member of the public and despite signage in place warning of the dangers, they said people continue to swim there and take risks.

‘We would ask people not to swim in this channel.

‘Talk to your children about the dangers of this area and if they are coming to Inchydoney we encourage them to swim on the eastern and western beaches, where the lifeguards set up safe swim zones which are marked by red/yellow flags.’

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