Tourists rescued after car plunges into sea off Kerry slipway

Local man Mike Moriarty used specialist water-rescue skills to pull couple from car

The car which  plunged off a slipway into the sea on Valentia Island in Co Kerry. Photograph: Alan  Landers

The car which plunged off a slipway into the sea on Valentia Island in Co Kerry. Photograph: Alan Landers

 

Two American tourists were rescued after their car plunged off a slipway into the sea on Valentia Island in Co Kerry.

The couple who are believed to be in their 70s and staying in Killarney were rescued by a local man with water-rescue skills.

Mike Moriarty ( 21) was at the pub in the Royal Hotel in Knightstown on Monday afternoon when a woman tapped him on the shoulder and said she thought she saw something going off the slipway near the clock-tower ledge.

“I looked and couldn’t see anything but I walked over and I could see a silver car in the water,” said Mr Moriarty.

He had recently returned home on holidays from Malta where he works on a yacht.

Alongside the slipway wall he could see a silver car nose down in the water and two elderly people inside.

“I took out my phone and wallet and jumped in,” he said.

Mr Moriarty could not open the driver’s door, and in order to rebalance the car he opened the back door to allow water in, which caused the nose of the car to reposition itself.

“It equalised the pressure and I was able to open the driver’s door,” he said.

The couple had been visiting the island in convoy with three or four other cars, also American tourists, and Mr Moriarty suspects the driver thought the car was in reverse. However, the car surged forward and off the ledge.

“He may have pressed the wrong pedal . They were very shook up,” he said.

The car was taken from the water by a local garage and the couple got a lift back to Killarney from others in the convoy.