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17-year-old explains how he helped a woman who got into difficulty off Wicklow coast

The Coast Guard had been called before the teen, who has lifeguard training, got into the water.

Image: Greystones Coast Guard via Facebook

A TEENAGER HAS told the story of how he helped rescue a woman who got into difficulty while swimming off the Wicklow coast last week.

On Wednesday afternoon, a woman got into difficulty off the coast at Greystones.

The Greystones Guide retold the story of how two friends, 17-year-old Conor Power and Ciaran Fox, saw that the woman was struggling in the water.

Power, a trained lifeguard, got into the water to help the woman, while Fox called the Coast Guard.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show this morning, Leaving Cert student Conor retold the story of how he helped to rescued the woman.

“Before I got in, I made sure that the Coast Guard was informed that someone was in the water in trouble,” he said.

He said he also surveyed the situation and got a rescue buoy before getting in. 

“Then I got into the water and reached the woman, and I told her to swim towards me because I could see that she was quite close to the rocks.

“She was that out of energy that I grabbed the buoy myself and towed her another 10 feet or so away from the rocks to safety until the Coast Guard came.”

Power then needed to get back to shore himself because the conditions were so bad; he told the woman to hang on to the buoy to stay afloat and returned to shore.

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By the time he had returned to shore, the Gardaí had arrived and he informed them what happened. Power’s body temperature had dropped below 35 degrees after this, so an ambulance was called for him – but he said his temperature returned to normal up to an hour later. 

He said that his lifeguard training emphasised that it was important not to panic, and not to put your own life at risk when attempting to help people struggling in the water. 

“You are the most important person in a rescue,” said John Doyle, the head coach of Power’s lifesaving club, the Poseidon Lifesaving Club.

He also told the Claire Byrne programme that half of people who drown had gone into the water to help someone else.

“[Conor] realised he could not get her out, so he did what he could by bringing her off the rocks, and then got himself out of danger – which is something we try to drill into our club members.”

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