Heroic dad, 45, jumps into lake in Northern Ireland to help rescue woman trapped in sinking car
News

Heroic dad, 45, jumps into lake in Northern Ireland to help rescue woman trapped in sinking car

UPDATE (18/06/2019): The rescued woman, Unagh Gallogly, sadly died in hospital and the PSNI have apologised to Mr McCammon for failing to acknowledge his rescue efforts

A WOMAN is in a critical condition in hospital after being rescued from a car that plunged into a lake in Northern Ireland.

The incident occurred at Muckross Pier in Kesh, Co. Fermanagh at around 10.25pm on Saturday night.

Alistair McCammon, 45, had been returning by boat with his family from nearby Lusty Beg when they came across the scene.

The Co. Armagh dad stripped off and jumped into the freezing water of Lough Erne to help save the woman's life.

Advertisement

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr McCammon said: "We saw the flashing lights on the shore as we headed over towards the jetty at Muckross Pier.

"There was a policeman waving at us from the top of their car and we quickly understood there was a vehicle in the water and that someone was possibly still inside.

"It was some 30-40 feet out from the shore, drifting away and sinking, and I suppose instinct kicked in.

"I stripped off and jumped in. I'd like to think someone would do the same for me in that situation".

'Things didn't look good'

Mr McCammon said it was "dark and difficult to see" as he dived underwater "three or four times" before spotting the car with its windows down.

He added: "There was someone in there and I'm not sure if she tried to pull at me or not.

Advertisement

"I couldn't tell if there was a seatbelt on and had to check. It wasn't and I was able to see that her head was in an air pocket. I managed to push her head down before being able to pull her up and out.

"I've no idea how long it all took, everything was happening so fast, but we managed to get her on to a board on the boat where an officer started CPR".

Three PSNI officers also entered the water to assist the rescue and were hospitalised with shock.

The rescued woman, believed to be aged in her 50s, was described as being in a critical condition in hospital last night.

"Things didn't look good and she'd definitely been down there a long time," Mr McCammon said.

"I've been thinking about it all day. I can still see her eyes staring at me underwater. I can still see her lying there on the boat."

Not even a thank you

Advertisement

Mr McCammon's wife Janet, who witnessed the incident, said her husband was left to look after himself after the heroic rescue and was not even thanked by police.

She told the Belfast Telegraph: "There were a couple of police officers standing around and they didn't look like they knew what to do. They were waving at us.

"I saw my husband take his jeans off and I scolded him to wait, but he jumped in.

"I just tried to keep the kids out of the way and shield them from what was going on.. but when they got to shore Alistair was left standing there freezing, soaked, in his underpants".

Mrs McCammon added: "No one asked him if he was okay. We just went back to the caravan to get him dry and warm.

"It's was annoying to see the reports of the incident on Sunday with no mention of what he did."

PSNI district commander Derek Beatty made no mention of Mr McCammon's heroics in his statement about the incident, saying only: "I commend the brave actions of the police officers involved and my thoughts and prayers are with the female and her family this morning".

Advertisement

He later offered his "sincere thanks" to all those involved in the rescue.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said: "The thoughts of everyone in Kesh and across Fermanagh will be with the woman involved and her family.

"Muckross is a well-known, quiet beauty spot and yet was the scene of such an awful incident.

"The police and the emergency services are to be commended for their swift actions."