Mother praises ‘guardian angel’ who rescued boy (3) from River Lee

Passerby jumped in to save child after he climbed under railings in Cork city

A woman has been hailed as a hero after dramatically rescuing a three year old child from the river Lee in Cork. The child slipped and fell into the river near Brian Ború Bridge in the city centre. Video courtesy: Cork's 96FM


The mother of a three-year-old boy who fell into the River Lee in Cork only to be saved by a passerby has paid tribute to the “guardian angel” who jumped in to rescue him.

Adriana Watters and her husband Alan were at work at a US multinational when gardaí called in at lunchtime yesterday to say their son, Caleb, had climbed under the railings at St Patrick’s Quay in the city centre, falling 20ft down an embankment and into the water.

Maria Foley, a passerby from Cobh, Co Cork risked her life by diving in promptly to save the child. Caleb had been with his childminder at the time.

Mrs Watters, originally from Germany, said she will be forever grateful to Ms Foley for her courage.

“It’s a miracle. The guards [gardaí] came in to us in work. We couldn’t believe it. She [the childminder] got an absolute fright.

“Everyone was amazing. From the guards to the people at the scene to the emergency services. And the guardian angel who went to the rescue of my son.

“ I would like her to get all the recognition she deserves.” She said the woman has children of her own and she had set up a fundraising page for her...... She didn’t hesitate for one second to jump in after him. What a hero.”

Caleb was staying at Cork University Hospital overnight as a precautionary measure. However, he did not sustain any serious injuries.

Fire officials earlier praised the bravery of Ms Foley, who held the boy above water until the arrival of local fire brigade and ambulance services.

A spokesman for Cork City Fire Brigade said Ms Foley had been extremely brave.

“Being low tide it was about a 5m drop into the water. This is an outstanding act of heroism on her part.

“It was a pure accident. The lady saw what was after happening. She took it upon herself to jump into the water. She kept that child alive. It was extraordinary. Not everybody would do it. We see acts of bravery a lot, but this was exceptional.”

Five units of Cork City Fire Brigade attended at the scene shortly after noon. Ms Foley and the young child were winched to safety. She was checked over in hospital but did not sustain serious injuries. Donations can be made to the fund for Maria Foley at