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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 26 January, 2020

Man appeals for contact with woman who saved wife and baby from drowning in the Liffey

John Butler’s wife and eight-week-old daughter slipped into the river near Newbridge last Monday evening.

8317151049_cce0a031f0_o Linear Park and the River Liffey, Newbridge Source: William Murphy

A CO KILDARE man has appealed for a woman who saved his wife and baby daughter’s lives from drowning to make contact with his family.

Newbridge man John Butler told KFM radio of how a relaxing walk in the park for his wife and three children turned into a nightmare in a split second as their youngest child slipped into the River Liffey.

The incident happened at Linear Park in the town last Monday evening at about 5pm.

John’s wife Kelly had been walking with the couple’s four-year-old daughter (who was on her bicycle), two-year-old son, and their infant daughter Annabelle, aged just eight weeks, who was in her buggy.

“Our older daughter was getting a little tired, so my wife turned, for just a split second, to put her hands on the handlebars and give her a hand,” John said today.

She turned back to see the buggy departing the footpath and slipping into the river with our baby on board.

John said that his wife “thankfully didn’t think twice”.

“She jumped straight into the water up to her chest. Annabelle was already nearly submerged, only her head was above water, but thankfully the buggy didn’t topple.”

At that moment another woman, who had likewise been walking with her infant child, heard Kelly’s screams and arrived to help.

“This lady came to our assistance, and thank God she did because my wife would have really struggled to get back out of the river,” John said.


Kelly passed baby Annabelle to the woman, who then pulled both her and the buggy back out of the river.

“She then immediately stripped our baby and wrapped her in her own scarf,” John said.

Kelly received multiple cuts during the ordeal, while both of the couple’s remaining children were “screaming and shouting hysterically” according to John.

“Thankfully the woman was there and she calmed our children,” he said.

He said that after mother and children were returned to the house, with all that was going on Kelly forgot to get contact details for their saviour.

“This woman abandoned her own child to aid my wife,” said John.

I just want to see if anyone has spoken to anyone else about this incident. We would like so much to make contact to say thank you.

“We are indebted to her,” John said simply.

He added that the woman in question had blonde hair, an infant baby of her own, was dressed in a black tracksuit top and runners, and “possibly lives close by”.

“She was out for a walk with her baby who was napping,” he said.

John further added that he has spoken to both local TD Martin Heydon and members of the Council with a view to adding appropriate safety measures at the location.

“There’s no fencing along there, there’s a slope on the footpath, there’s no kerb,” he said.

It’s just a straight drop into the Liffey.

Read: Government to target sugar, salt, fat and big portion sizes in fight against obesity

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