AN INCREDIBLE young Irish woman is being hailed as a hero after coming to the rescue of a dad and three children who were in danger of drowning in Donegal.
Jane Friel, 21, sprinted into the waters off Portsalon Beach without taking off her clothes to come to the aid of a father and his three young girls.
A cinema worker who previously trained as a lifeguard, Friel told Joe Duffy on RTE’s Liveline [via Irish Mirror] how she sprang into action after overhearing the mother of the stricken family pleading for helping.
"A woman came up behind us and was chatting to the man behind us and was saying 'my family are in difficulty, I think they are drowning, is there a lifeguard?'” she said.
"But there was no lifeguard on the beach, I trained as a lifeguard, I did my first training four years ago and then renewed it two years ago.
"But I've never worked as a lifeguard."
Without a second thought, she came to the family’s aid.
"I pulled off my jacket, my shoes and my sunglasses and went running towards the water,” Jane told RTE.
"A man gave me a life ring and I ran into the water and I could see them then so I swam out to them and it was a man and his three daughters.
"They were between eight and 13, they could all swim but they got pulled out too far.
"The first girl was the closest to me and she seemed visibly upset, I pushed the life ring to her and got her to grab onto it and I swam in a bit with her.
"Someone was on the beach and able to pull the string in.
"I went back out and was able to get the second girl to calm down and hang onto the body board she had and I said to the dad will ye be ok but at that stage he was able to swim back with the last girl.
"He even said he wasn't a strong swimmer but he did great to even keep them above the water until someone came out.
"We all got back in safely anyway."
While all of the family involved were left understandably shaken by the incident, it could have been far, far worse were it not for Jane’s quick-thinking intervention.
The relived mother was even able to provide the 21-year-old lifesaver with a new set of clothes after hers was soaked during the daring rescue.
Jane said: "They were very relieved and very thankful and the mother gave me clothes as I didn't have any. The mother gave me shorts as she had a spare pair."
All of those involved are now said to be doing well following the near-miss and have been in touch to thank Jane for her incredible efforts.