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Bandon hero rescues woman from sinking car

December 4th, 2023 9:10 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

William says he arrived back home to Bandon in a pair of boxers, a hazmat suit and a pair of wellies! (Photo: Denis Boyle)

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A BANDON man has been hailed a hero after he was involved in the dramatic rescue of a woman whose car went into the River Lee in Cork city last Monday.

But father-of-one William Ross (48) played down his heroic efforts by saying he ‘reacted in the moment’ and ‘did what any other person would have done’ if they faced the same situation.

‘I was working on a weighbridge on Kennedy Quay when I noticed a commotion in the distance,’ he told The Southern Star. ‘I went over and saw that a car was floating down the river. Two other men, Farid Langens and Kevin Roos from separate Belgian trawlers, were running along the quay when Farid jumped in,’ said William.

‘We threw him a rope and we were able to pull the car next to a trawler. Someone had a hammer next to me and I grabbed it and reached down over to smash the back window, while someone else grabbed my legs over the side of the trawler.’

The car being removed from the River Lee at Kennedy Quay. (Photo: Jim Coughlan/Irish Examiner)


William said the woman couldn’t get out the back window at that stage, so he made his way onto the roof and smashed a passenger side window.

‘We were able to pull her out and the car was going down, but wasn’t sinking fast. We were all in the water and were able to climb aboard the trawler after someone threw a rope ladder down.’

Following the rescue, William went back to the weighbridge, got out of his wet clothes, while members of Cork City Fire Brigade gave him a blanket.

‘We were all so cold afterwards that we all went our separate ways. I arrived back home to Bandon in my boxers, a hazmat suit and a pair of wellies! My wife Geraldine got a fright when I told her what happened.’

Following a well-earned shower, William even went back to work afterwards and also had to pop into a phone shop to buy a new phone for €250 after his own got destroyed during the rescue.

A GoFundMe page called ‘Catch of the Day’ has already been set up by Cork’s Red FM to replace his phone as a way for the people of Cork to thank him for his act of bravery. Any additional funds will go to Farid and Kevin.

‘I was totally surprised when I heard this was happening. Also, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing since Monday and I had over 100 messages on WhatsApp. I must say that Farid and Kevin were unreal as they jumped into the river straight away – I was only in the water for two or three minutes.’

William’s wife Geraldine and their daughter Sophia are immensely proud of his brave actions. ‘It was instinctual on his part and it was amazing to see people come together to save a life,’ said Geraldine.

‘Sophia is so proud of him and said her dad is very brave. She is relieved that everyone is safe.’

Victor Shine of Cork City Fire Brigade also praised the three men for risking their lives to rescue the woman, who was taken to the Mercy University Hospital following the incident.

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