TWO men in their twenties, who were suspected of having taken drugs, were unconscious when they were airlifted from Dunmanway to Cork University Hospital (CUH) at 11am on Sunday morning.
The scene outside the privately-owned property at Bantry Road in Dunmanway caused concern locally as crews of the National Ambulance Service from Skibbereen and Bantry arrived at around 10am, shortly after the alarm was raised.
Two doctors travelling in rapid response vehicles were also in attendance, as well as garda personnel, and two rescue helicopters – the Irish Community Helicopter and the Rescue 117 Irish Coast Guard helicopter – landed in a nearby GAA field, which had been prepared for landing by the Castlefreke unit of the Irish Coast Guard.
Both men were treated at the scene and ventilated before being flown the 20-minute journey to Cork University Hospital where their condition in the intensive care unit was – before going to press – still described as ‘critical’.
Although both men are in their 20s, it is understood that the older of the two, a native of Clonakilty, was renting a room in the building, which is located at the edge of the town, while the younger man, a native of Dunmanway, went back to the room after an evening socialising. Supt Ger O’Mahony confirmed that the two men were discovered ‘in a serious condition’ and remain in ‘a critical condition.’
The owner of the property told The Southern Star it was his understanding that the men had ‘consumed a substance they shouldn’t have and got into bother.
‘They were both unconscious,’ he said. ‘My hope is that they will survive but they are still critical.’
According to the owner, who is trying to sell the property, ‘there is a huge homelessness problem in West Cork during the summer months. I have rented out rooms to some people, usually single people, who are waiting for housing from the Council,’ he added. ‘Most of them are local to West Cork and are in desperate need of emergency accommodation. I would provide them with a room in the hope that they would find their feet, but it’s generally a temporary arrangement.’
The owner said he heard about the situation on Sunday morning and was shocked. ‘You don’t want something like that happening in your premises, and you don’t want something like that to happen to anyone in any town in West Cork.’