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'They were in shock, I was trying to shout to them': Young man recalls heroic rescue off Kerry coast

Mícheál Keogh (22) was swimming at Com Dhíneol beach when he noticed a family get into difficulty yesterday afternoon.

Com Dhíneol beach near Ceann Sléibhe, Kerry.
Com Dhíneol beach near Ceann Sléibhe, Kerry.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A YOUNG MAN has spoken of his “terrifying” rescue on a West Kerry Beach yesterday afternoon. 

Mícheál Keogh (22) was swimming at Com Dhíneol beach near Ceann Sléibhe when he noticed two men enter the water at the cliffside to rescue a young boy (10) who had got into difficulty.

Himself and another man, Dan Sullivan, swam over to the group but the current was too strong to swim to safety, Keogh told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland. 

Keogh held the boy over his head above the water while Sullivan managed to make it back to shore and formed a human chain along the beach to help rescue the group from the water. 

“It’s a very dangerous place to swim. None of them could swim so it was mad altogether but we were able to get them out,” said Keogh. 

Keogh then swam over to the boy’s two uncles in the water. “The two gentlemen were in shock. I was trying to shout to them to get them to jump over to the chain but they just weren’t responsive at all,” Keogh recalled. 

Keogh grabbed both men, he says, and then swam them over to where the human chain was. 

“I’d been on that beach before so I knew to stay away from there. Once I’d seen they were there along the cliffside…the three of them were [being] hit by big waves, going up against the rock and back out,” said Keogh. 

Following the rescue, the boy was attended to by a doctor and an off-duty lifeguard who were also holidaying in the area.

A short time later members of Dingle Coastguard and the Shannon-based Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 arrived. 

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The boy was responsive but was airlifted to University Hospital Kerry as a precaution.

Carol Leahy of the Dingle Coastguard described the actions of Mr Keogh as “truly heroic”.

She told RTÉ: “I’m just amazed at that young man’s perseverance and courageous efforts.

“He’s on holiday here and Com Dhíneol is a notoriously dangerous place. We could have had a horrendous tragedy here this evening if it wasn’t for his quick thinking.” she said.

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