Daring River Rescue

river

Eoghan Dalton Reports

The River Suir saw a daring rescue last weekend when a man helped prevent a young mother from drowning after she jumped in from Rice Bridge.
He was able to grab the woman’s hand as they floated through the river and spoke with her about her children in a bid to keep her calm in the water. Both were then picked up by a crew from the River Rescue and were later assisted by the care of the fire and ambulance services.
Aidan Tattan (24), had walked from his workplace on O’Connell Street last Saturday night just after 9:30 pm down to the Quay to test out the camera on his new phone when he noticed people trying to talk down a woman standing on the ledge of the bridge.
“I called the Coast Guard to alert them and about 20 seconds later, I heard a splash and she had jumped in,” he told this newspaper, “We called out to her but she wasn’t responding, she was on her back floating down the river.”

He said that the other man on the scene was “fast-thinking” and quickly dropped a life buoy into the Suir. An experienced swimmer, Aidan tried to judge the strength of the current and wrapped rope around his left shoulder before then securing it to land and entering from near the old distillery.
“I just thought that I couldn’t let her float down like that so I went in and swam to her, pleading with her to take my hand. And whatever way the current flowed, I was able to grab her hand and hold onto her,” he said.

The woman began to struggle to stay in the Suir and having heard from the couple nearby that she is a mother to two children, Aidan began to ask her details about the youngsters. “I was trying to find out when their birthdays are, who they are, I was trying to keep her grounded and bring her back to reality,” he continued.
The River Rescue’s ILB arrived onto the scene and recovered both, who at this point were opposite the distillery. Its team commended the “very courageous” Aidan on social media and said the woman was in a highly distressed state when brought aboard.

Aidan was “shook from the experience”, noting there were several coincidences that led to him being in a position to help last Saturday.
He said: “It was a weird situation really. We’d had a late booking so I finished up in The Great Escape later than usual, and if I didn’t have that new phone I wouldn’t have gone towards the quay looking for a photo of the sun going down, and I was wearing swimming shorts on the day by chance. I just thought, f*ck it, I have to do this.”
Just as important though, he said, was the time he spent in his younger days in his native Ballycotton (in County Cork) completing safety courses and taking swimming lessons, providing him with the confidence to get a handle on the situation.

Speaking on social media, he said it will stick with him forever: “I don’t believe in God or a higher power, but I feel everything that has happened in my life lead me to being there at that time and place. I want to highlight the important work that the emergency services do and go through everyday. I want to thank my parents for how they raised me to help people who needed help. I’m not proud of what I did as I believe anybody else in my situation would have done the same. But I am proud of how I handled it and hope the person involved gets the treatment they need to recover.”The woman who Aidan saved also commented on social media afterwards. She thanked him and said that while there are gaps in her memory from the night, she did remember him talking to her as they were in the water.
Waterford City River Rescue rounded out its statement on the incident: “But for the fast thinking of the passer-by and the use of the life buoy which was secured on land this could have been a different outcome, both were taken back to The Plaza Marina and with the assistance of Waterford City Fire Service both casualty and rescuer were passed onto the care of Waterford Ambulance Station. Also at scene at the time were Waterford Gardaí and Rescue 117.”

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