Acid attack felt like having a ‘lighter to my face,’ says teenager

Underage international Tega Agberhiere thanks public for support after incident in Waterford

Waterford teen and underage Irish soccer international, Tega Agberhiere (16), is recovering from a suspected acid attack and is now expecting to regain full sight in both his eyes. Video: WLR FM

 

A teenager injured in a chemical attack in Waterford city last week has said the acid felt “like someone had a lighter to my face”.

Tega Agberhiere (16) thanked the public for their messages of support during an interview with Damien Tiernan on local radio station WLR on Thursday morning.

The incident occurred in the Earlscourt housing estate on the Dunmore Road at around 11pm last Thursday.

A number of young people were involved in a “serious altercation”, and it is understood “a corrosive substance” was used, according to gardaí.

“Three youths required medical attention for burns and were taken to University Hospital Waterford Hospital for treatment,” they said.

Four male teenagers arrested on Saturday were released without charge.

Gardaí said a file was being prepared for the Director for Public Prosecutions and that the investigation was ongoing.

Eyesight

Speaking from University Hospital Waterford, he told the radio station that he feared his eyesight could be lost. In a video posted online he showed the marks left by the attack.

“I felt like someone had a lighter to my face,” he said “my eyes were just like burning everything . . . [I thought] I was never going to see anything again, I thought I was blind.”

He was transferred to Cork University Hospital on Tuesday morning before being brought back to Waterford.

He has not been told if skin grafts will be required and said the hospital doctors were waiting for his skin to heal.

He told WLR his form had been “very good” and that his eyesight was better now.

“All my friends and family are coming to visit me, I’m grateful for it,” he added.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone that has sent me messages. Like, it’s getting me through every day and [is] helpful for my progress and everything getting better day by day.”

His parents are originally from Nigeria and moved to Ireland in 2002, and have been taking it in turns to stay with him in hospital.

Tega’s mother, Christie, said he had suffered first-degree burns on his face and was continuing to receive treatment in hospital.

She said: “I thank God for his life and I thank God for everybody in Waterford city. And I must say, there’s been massive support from the community, from the whole of Ireland.

Christie further thanked the management and staff of the two hospitals.

Tega plays for Waterford FC’s under-17 side and has represented Ireland at underage level. He was born in Waterford and is studying for the Leaving Certificate at Waterpark College.

Republic of Ireland senior manager Mick McCarthy, Under-17 national team manager Colin O’Brien and Under-16 coach Paul Osam were among those to send messages of support to Tega and his two friends this week.

“It made me happy that day,” Tega said of the support from the national setup.

Tega finished off the radio interview by wishing good luck to his old teammates at Villa FC, who face Carrigaline in the Munster final this Saturday. “Hopefully [they’ll] win and bring it home, that’s what everyone wants,” he said.