A YOUNG man is being hailed as a hero for his daring rescue of four members of the same family off the coast of Kerry.
22-year-old Mícheál Keogh, from Enfield in County Meath, was at the beach in Com Dhíneol near Ceann Sléibhe yesterday afternoon when he noticed a potentially fatal accident occurring.
According to RTE News, a ten-year-old boy got into difficulty while swimming in the west Kerry sea, and the boy's father and two other male relatives attempted to swim out to rescue him.
But the strong currents and high waves put the three relatives in danger, too-- and Mr Keogh, who was swimming nearby, knew he had to come to the rescue.
The young man told RTÉ News that he first noticed the child in distress and sensed he was in trouble-- and then his father and two older relatives, in an attempt to rescue him, "also got into trouble.
This is truly heroic. This evening Mícheál Keogh rescued four members of the same family, including a 10-year-old boy. Dingle Coastguard say his efforts prevented a horrendous tragedy. Read on...
Man praised for saving boy, 10, from sea off west Kerry https://t.co/FDZv9HABvF pic.twitter.com/c5pJcJXrEF
— Seán Mac an tSíthigh (@Buailtin) August 26, 2020
"The waves were fairly big," Mícheál said. "They were being pulled out by the current.
"Another man, whose name I didn’t get, ran in to help but couldn’t get the boy back to shore, the waves were just too high. But we managed to pull the boy and the three other men as far as a rock in the sea. I told them to cling on to it."
Mícheál waited with the men and boy on the rock out at sea while the other rescuer organised beach-goers to form a human chain from the strand out to the water.
When the chain stretched as far to the rock as it could go, Míchéal took the little boy and carried him above his head, wading in the strong water until they reached the human chain and the child could be passed to safety.
"The waves were breaking and I was still out of my depth," he admitted, but he still returned to the rock where the three men were waiting.
"One by one I just grabbed them under by arm and I swam in with them," the heroic young man told RTÉ.
The child was airlifted to Kerry University Hospital as a precaution but is understood to be recovering well.
As for Mícheál Keogh, the strong swimmer humbly said "I just knew I had to do something fast."
"I think my mother is more shook after the whole thing than I am-- she was up in the car par and only heard from others what had happened below at the beach.
"She got a desperate fright!"
Dingle Coastguard member Carol Leahy praised Mícheál and those at the beach who formed the human chain as heroes, stating "I'm just amazed a that young man's perseverance and courageous efforts."
We could have had a horrendous tragedy here this evening if it wasn’t for his quick thinking." she said.