Water safety urged as three children rescued from river in Thomastown

It could have ended tragically but for the intervention of three people


File photo

People are being urged to exercise caution and never swim alone at Kilkenny’s bathing spots this summer following an incident in the river at the mill in Thomastown which could have ended tragically.

A group of children were playing in the river with their father when two of the youngsters, who were not strong swimmers, got into difficulty. A third child, their friend, was trying to help get them back to safety, but she got into difficulty as well.

The children’s father had jumped into the river to help get the girls out and avoid being swept away by the current. With one child in his grasp, he was also struggling.

Fortunately, three passersby came to their aid. William Coogan (34), his best friend Paul Irwin (34) and Aisling Hickman Fitzpatrick (29) were walking their dogs by the river when they saw the commotion

Jumping into the water, William pulled the two girls to safety, while Paul helped the father and his daughter get back to the bank of the river. Meanwhile, Aisling help drag the two girls William had saved up onto the bank and out of harm’s way.

“Thankfully we got everyone out, safe and sound, and we made sure they did not need medical assistance after the incident,” said Aisling.

If the three walkers had not been in the area and recognised what was unfolding, the situation could have ended very differently.

Water safety
Aisling says she wants to remind people of the importance of water safety, particularly at present when the weather is good and people want to swim, but lifeguards are not yet present at bathing spots.

“Thankfully, we are all safe, just a bit shook from the whole ordeal,” she said.

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