April 19, 2021

Hero Waterford doctor rushed into sea to save brother and sister from drowning

A quick-thinking Waterford doctor who used his experience as a lifeguard to save the lives of a brother and sister has been rewarded for his courage and bravery.

Dr Matthew Sills won a Seiko Just in Time Rescue Award at Water Safety Ireland’s National Annual Awards Ceremony held in UCD Dublin this week.

He was presented with the award by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, for his actions which saved the lives of a brother and sister in Tramore, last August.

On Monday, August 5, Matthew was out and about close to Tramore Strand when he noticed a commotion on the prom, where a large group of people were in a state of panic. They were pointing out at sea to a brother and sister who were trying in vain to escape a rip current.

The doctor and former lifeguard had rescue equipment in his car and instantly ran for a rescue tube. He rushed into the water fully clothed and made his way to the two adult swimmers.

At this point, the woman had lost a lot of energy so Matthew placed the rescue tube around her and offered practical advice to the man to guide him into the shore. Matthew remarkably got both to safety and neither required medical treatment.

Speaking at the ‘Seiko Just in Time Rescue Awards’, Minister Ring extended his appreciation to Dr Sill and other heroes who won awards for saving a combined 17 lives.

“It is an honour to pay tribute to these deserving award recipients. Without their bravery, quick thinking and selflessness, the outcomes could have been very different. On average, 124 people drown annually in Ireland, and while one drowning is one too many, the figure would have been higher but for these courageous rescuers,” the minister said.

Other recipients of the Water Safety Ireland Awards included 61 volunteer lifeguards who received Long-Service Volunteer Awards recognising a combined total of 1,275 years of personal service teaching swimming, water rescue and survival skills in communities nationwide.

Attendees at the awards heard that tragedy can strike in just a moment, but due to the work of the Irish Lifeguard Services this summer alone, 260 people were rescued from drowning, 3,284 people had first aid administered and 289 lost children were found wandering unsupervised near water were reunited with loved ones.


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