TWO elderly American tourists were rescued by a quick-thinking local man after their car plunged into the sea on Valentia Island in Co. Kerry yesterday.
Mike Moriarty, 21, was having a drink at the nearby Royal Hotel in Knightstown on Monday afternoon when a woman said she saw a car enter the water.
The heroic young man quickly rushed outside and came to the aid of the stricken couple, who are believed to be aged in their 70s.
Speaking to Radio Kerry after the incident, Mikey said: "I was in the Royal and somebody just tapped me on the shoulder and said there was a car after going off the slipway.
"I looked and couldn't see anything but I went outside and walked over and I could see a silver car in the water.
"I took my phone and my wallet out of my pocket and I jumped in".
Mike Moriarty, 21, was in the pub in the Royal Hotel in Knightstown when the car went into the water. He jumped in and rescued the two American tourists, who are in their 70s.
Mike deserves a medal 👏👏👏 https://t.co/fSYJRq7i1Q
— Colette Browne (@colettebrowne) 30 April 2019
After entering the water, Mikey found he was unable to open the driver's side door as the front of the car was submerged.
He explained: "The car was kind of down by its head. I couldn't open the driver's door so I opened the back door and it let a load of water into the car.
"It equalised the pressure and I was able to open the driver's door and I just pulled the two of them out."
The couple involved had been staying in Killarney and were visiting the island in a convoy with a few other cars of US tourists when the accident occurred.
Mikey said he suspects the driver had been attempting to reverse when the car instead surged forward and plunged into the water.
"He may have pressed the wrong pedal. They were very shook up," he added.
The silver Skoda Fabia hire car involved was recovered by a garage and the shaken couple got a lift back to Killarney from others in their group.
Mikey said it was lucky that he was there at the time as he had only arrived home on Sunday after holidaying in Malta, where he owns a yacht.