Firefighters in hospital after saving man from drowning

Lurgan Park
Lurgan Park

Two firefighters are in hospital after saving a man from drowning during a serious incident in a Co Armagh park this evening.

According to local reports a man had swam into the lake at Lurgan Park.

It is understood that he appeared in difficulty and the emergency services were called.

Firefighters Noel White and Rory McIntyre went in to rescue the man as did the PSNI.

Noel's daughter Niamh said: "The man was saved by a firefighter. My dad who's now in hospital himself because he has swallowed the contaminated water.. A hero."

She revealed that her father and his fellow firefighter had to be checked out due to swallowing lots of potentially contaminated water and were issued with antibiotics.

The PSNI Craigavon posted on Facebook: "Pigs can't fly, but after today, we know they can swim...

"Lurgan Neighbourhood Team were out and about in the town today when an urgent call came in about a man in trouble in the lake at Lurgan Park.

"The lights and sirens got the team through in short order, but then the decision came.

"One of this guy's friends had already tried to rescue him, however with panic setting in, he was being dragged under and had to come back out to avoid drowning himself.

"These are the moments that decision making is critical. Do you risk adding to the casualty tally by going in? Do you put extra pressure on Fire and Rescue Service by giving them more people to get out? Or do you rely on team work and put your own life on the line? Condense that thought process into mere seconds, and the decision was an easy one for two of our lads. Kit off, in they went.

"To give an idea of how far out they went, the 25m throw lines the NIFRS put in to try and help when they arrived didn't even come close.

"Our guys managed to work together to bring the casualty closer to the shore, where 2 of our NIFRS colleagues also got in to complete the job.

"We talk about team work a lot, but it's these moments where the rubber really hits the road. Of course, getting the casualty out isn't the end. Our guys core temperatures had plummeted. Cue NIAS for the finest treatment, a load of foil blankets, and a warm cuppa!

"Sadly, this story isn't just about heroes and team work. It's about how reckless and dangerous the mix of alcohol and water is.

"NEVER enter the water if you've been drinking. It's not just your own life on the line, it's the lives of those who aren't going to stand by and watch you die.

"Today could have been multiple deaths. Thankfully, it was only two to hospital; the original casualty and one of our brave NIFRS colleagues. We wish them a speedy recovery," said the PSNI Craigavon. "Our two were sent home for a well earned early shower."

Local Sinn Fein councillor Keith Haughian praised the actions of the emergency services.

He said: “A man in danger of drowning was rescued by two community police officers tonight in Lurgan Park.

"It was clearly a very dangerous situation but in a selfless act officers entered the water without hesitation.

“Such was the difficulty of bringing the individual to safety fire service officer also entered the water.

“I wish to pay tribute to each and every person who helped save this mans life tonight.”

The man rescued was taken to hospital by the NI Ambulance Service and it is unclear at this time his condition.

SDLP Cllr Declan McAlinden also praised the great work of the emergency services.

He said: "Well done to all our Emergency Services this evening in preventing a major incident in Lurgan Park.

"Please remember: Drink+Water don’t mix!! #staysafearoundwater!"