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Friday 14 December 2018

New Zealand tourist in dramatic rescue of river-fall woman

Gary Price and wife, Marie, in Drogheda. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson
Gary Price and wife, Marie, in Drogheda. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson

A New Zealand tourist helped rescue a woman from the Boyne just minutes after he checked into his hotel in Drogheda.

Gary Price (55) and local man Andrew Farrell (41) were both involved in getting the woman out of the water and on to the quayside.

The events unfolded at 5.30pm on Friday soon after Gary and his wife, Marie, had checked into the d Hotel.

The couple, from Auckland, decided to take a room with a balcony overlooking the river because it was Gary's birthday.

As Marie went on to the balcony, she could see two women sitting on the opposite side of the river.

When Gary joined Marie a few moments later, one of the women "looked a bit wobbly" before falling backwards over the wall.

"It was almost as if she had lost consciousness and fell back into the water and was in a sitting position," said Gary.

"She just went straight into the river.

"She fell on her back and immediately rotated over and was face down in the water."

Marie tried to ring reception for help while Gary screamed at the other woman to go and get help.

Gary, who rescued someone in New Zealand 20 years ago, knew time was of the essence and went straight down to reception. He yelled at them to call gardai.

"I ran out the door and down the quay front, over the pedestrian bridge to where the woman had fallen in," he said.

While he did this, Marie saw Andrew running down to the scene.

"He went immediately into the water and was holding her up," she said.

Andrew (41), from Drogheda, said he was walking home when he saw "a commotion" and saw a life ring and its rope in the water. He immediately jogged to help.

"Someone was shouting for someone who could swim," he said. "I could see the girl face down in the water, so I jumped in.

"I turned her around and began to massage her throat and shaking her head. I got her breathing again."

The current was pulling and as Andrew tried to climb a ladder on the river wall, he began losing his footing.

"I was getting tired and getting worried for myself," he said.

It was at that point that Gary joined in. He tried to grab the woman, but could not reach far enough, and Andrew was not able to lift her up any further.

"So I jumped in and helped Andrew support her," said Gary.

"It seemed like ages until we lifted her up and could get her arms up. That was when a man and girls from the The Cut Above hairdressers managed to pull her up."

Gary praised the work of Andrew, saying: "It was pretty hard on him trying to support her. We were both in the water up to our chins."

Life rings were thrown to them, but Gary said that in New Zealand they train to use rescue tubes.

Concerned

The life rings are designed to allow CPR to be given to an unconscious person and Marie felt that the life rings seemed more suitable for someone who was conscious and was able to hold on to them.

Marie knew her husband would help. "I am not surprised," she said.

"He is a good person and at home he is always helping people."

The couple are concerned for the welfare of the woman and also paid tribute to the role of Andrew and everyone else who helped in the rescue.

The pair decided to stay in the d Hotel to explore the area after visiting the Newgrange passage tomb.

"We love Ireland. The people are lovely and have taught me so much about hospitality," said Marie.

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