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'Brave man' praised after saving couple trapped in car in river

17 July 2017 12:02
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'Brave man' praised after saving couple trapped in car in river

A "brave gentleman" has been praised by fire crews after he saved a couple who became trapped after their car crashed and ended upside down in a river.

The man entered the water and helped to free them before the emergency services arrived at the scene at Porthall in County Donegal on Saturday evening.

The Daily Mirror reports the rescuer is believed to be from Northern Ireland.

One fire officer involved in the rescue said the man's "selfless" actions had "undoubtedly" saved the couple's lives.

Fire services from both sides of the Irish border helped with the rescue and a coastguard helicopter was also called to the scene of the incident, which happened at about 18:30 local time.

One of the casualties was taken to Altnagelvin Area Hospital in Londonderry by the helicopter, while the other was taken by ambulance.

The woman has since been moved to Letterkenny University Hospital in County Donegal.

David Doherty, from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, said the people in the car were "both submerged under water and were suspended by their seatbelts" after the crash.

"A gentleman very selflessly entered the water - this water would've been up to his chest," the Strabane station commander said.

"He had performed the rescue of one casualty and helped to free the other casualty.

"We have to give that man a big pat on the back for his early intervention.

"Undoubtedly, his actions were very brave and he did help save these people's lives."

Fire service medics performed CPR and first aid on the couple after they were taken from the water.

"One of the casualties was unresponsive but they were able to re-establish [her] breathing and stabalise her," Mr Doherty said.

"This was down a riverbank and it was quite challenging terrain, so we had to get the casualties up from the bank on to the roadway."

He added that emergency services on both sides of the border worked well together on a regular basis.


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