A dog, two women and a man hailed as heroes after rescuing elderly man from River Barrow


A dog, two women and a man are being hailed as heroes after rescuing an elderly man from the River Barrow in Carlow.

The man, who is understood to be in his 70s, was walking along the Barrow Track in Carlow Town, when it is understood he suffered a stroke, which caused him to collapse and fall into the river.

Local man, Cillian Coakley had just passed him while walking his dogs and he was the first to jump into the river after him when one of his dogs alerted him to what had happened.

It was Mr Coakley’s shouts that then got the attention of joggers, Gillian Hegarty and Sharon Buggy, who were on their lunch break from Seery’s Bakery in Graiguecullen.

Speaking on local radio, KCLR FM Ms Buggy said: “When we came down (to where the man fell in), we jumped in as well. I pulled him up from the shoulders, and Gillian and Cillian pushed him up because it was kind of up a bank.

“At that time, we were on to 999 – they were on speaker.”

We weren’t sure whether we could move him or not really, and they just said take him out of the water and just put him on his side.

“He was unresponsive for a while… We were waiting for about 15 minutes or more for the ambulance because they couldn’t really get out to us or find us, even though we could hear the sirens. Eventually he did come right.”

Ms Buggy added some of the credit has to go to one of Cillian’s dogs, who was the first to notice something was wrong.

“He was just walking the dog and he literally had just passed [the man] and said hello, and his dog stopped, just suddenly stopped in his tracks and looked behind because he probably sensed something.

“Cillian said he didn’t even hear him falling into the water, he didn’t hear a splash or anything. It was the dog that noticed, which is amazing really”.

It is understood that the man is recovering in hospital following his ordeal.

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