Girl (7) rescued from water by lifeguard out walking his dog in Co Clare

Girl’s mother praises ‘heroic’ Patrick Mungovan after rescue at Seafield pier

Lifeguard Patrick Mungovan, who saved a seven-year-old girl from the water at Seafield pier in Co Clare.

Lifeguard Patrick Mungovan, who saved a seven-year-old girl from the water at Seafield pier in Co Clare.

 

A girl was rescued in recent days after getting into difficulty in water in Co Clare, by a lifeguard who happened to be passing by while out walking his dog.

Leah Peters (7) was visiting Seafield pier, in Quilty, west Co Clare, when she fell from the pier into the water. She had been visiting the pier with her mother.

Patrick Mungovan (25), a lifeguard, was walking his dog along the pier on Wednesday when he heard the girl’s mother calling for help.

“I was just there for a walk with the dog, I saw this lady screaming and crying,” he told The Irish Times.

Mr Mungovan has been a lifeguard since he was 16 years of age, and teaches swimming lessons to children in the local area.

He said that upon reaching the mother, he saw the girl in the water, struggling to stay afloat.

“I just went in, you wouldn’t even think of it, I was out before I thought about it . . . I just dropped the dog’s lead and jumped in,” he said.

Mr Mungovan rescued the child from the water, and brought her safely back up onto the pier.

“She was coughing and stuff, I told them to get her checked out to be sure,” he said. “She said she fell in, it only took a second to happen . . . At least it was a good outcome.”

The water below the pier had been too deep to stand in, and was “fairly choppy”, Mr Mungovan said.

After emerging from the water with the girl, the child’s mother “was hugging me and crying”, he said.

‘Heroic’

Julie Peters, the girl’s mother, described Mr Mungovan as “heroic”, and cautioned that the story showed how fast people could get into difficulty near the water.

Ms Peters, from Castletroy, Co Limerick, had been visiting the Co Clare area with her three children for a number of days.

In a post on Facebook, Ms Peters said her daughter had slipped into the water from the pier and began struggling for “what felt like forever”.

“This young man heard my scream for help and without hesitation came running towards me and entered the water immediately, even with his iPhone and car keys still in his pocket,” she said.

“Leah has been examined by a doctor who said she was very lucky and could have started to intake water to her lungs had she been struggling in the water any longer,” she said.

The mother thanked Mr Mungovan for his “bravery and life-saving skills”, which she said had saved her daughter’s life.