Cork hero saves brothers, 6 and 8, from water

Hero Martin Cullinane.

By Olivia Kelleher

Two young brothers aged six and eight escaped with their lives over the weekend after a plucky man in Passage West, Co Cork jumped into the water from a quayside to save them.

Martin Cullinane (46) told Neil Prendeville on Cork's Red FM that he moved instantly when he realised the boys were in trouble at Mariner's Quay in Passage West at 6.30pm last Saturday.

Mr Cullinane heard a noise from the quayside and looked out the window of his girlfriend's apartment where he quickly noticed that two boys were struggling in the water.

"I just didn't stop to think. I ran down the stairs and dived in."

Mr Cullinane, from Dublin Pike in Cork, said the first boy was struggling to stay afloat and was trying to grab him in a "panicky way" so he decided to get him out first.

"I brought him to the quayside and a man with a beard who lives in the apartments grabbed him and pulled him up.

I then swam out to the other boy who was tiny and was going under the water. I grabbed him. I knew he was in a bad way because there was foam coming out of his mouth.

"It was a peculiar current as the tide appeared to be going in but the current was trying to pull us out.

"He got to the quayside and the man pulled us both out. I held the boy, who was such a tiny little thing in my arms. He wasn't breathing and instinct took over."

Mr Cullinane put the boy on his knee and cleared his airwaves.

"I then put him lying face down and he gasped and started to vomit up water. I never saw so much water come out of such a small child.

"In the meantime, his brother was lying on the ground in the recovery position."

Martin said the emergency services arrived very quickly. He went up to the girlfriend's apartment in Mariner's Quay and took a quick shower.

The adrenaline was pumping so much from the minute I ran down the stairs, I didn't even realise that the sea was freezing. I sat down after the shower and had a bottle of beer. It's only today that the reality is hitting home.

Martin said he was glad that he had learned to swim as a young pupil at North Monastery School in Cork. Red FM plan to nominate him for their monthly Cork Heroes award. The two boys were kept in CUH overnight as a precautionary measure. However, they were not seriously injured in the incident.

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