Dog hailed as hero for role in incredible rescue of elderly man from River Barrow in Carlow
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Dog hailed as hero for role in incredible rescue of elderly man from River Barrow in Carlow

A LOCAL Carlow man, his dog, and two passing female joggers have been hailed as heroes after braving the elements to save a drowning elderly man from the River Barrow.

Cillian Coakley was walking his dogs along the Barrow Track in Carlow Town when one of his beloved canines alerted him to the stricken man’s situation.

Unbeknownst to Coakley at the time, a man said to be in his 70s had collapsed and fallen into the river after suffering what is understood to be a stroke.

Acting quickly, Coakley jumped into the river to come to the elderly man’s aid.

His shouts soon caught the attention of Gillian Hegarty and Sharon Buggy, who were on a jog during their lunch break from their jobs at a local bakery.

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Speaking on local radio, KCLR FM Ms Buggy detailed the unfolding drama:

“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.”

Thankfully the man is recovering well in hospital.

And while everyone involved deserves credit for their efforts, Ms Buggy believes Cillian’s vigilant dog deserves extra credit.

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“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”.