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Three locals and a dog hailed heroes after rescuing elderly man from River Barrow in Carlow

Three brave locals and a dog are being hailed as heroes this morning after rescuing a man from the River Barrow in Carlow.

Yesterday afternoon the man, who’s understood to be in his 70s, was walking along the Barrow Track in Carlow Town when it seems he suffered a stroke, which caused him to collapse and fall into the river.

Local man, Cillian Coakley had just passed him while walking his dogs and he was the first to jump into the river after him when one of his dogs, Rio, alerted him to what had happened.

It was Cillian’s shouts that then got the attention of joggers, Gillian Hegarty and Sharon Buggy, who were on their lunchbreak from Seery’s Bakery in Graiguecullen.

Sharon has told KCLR News what happened next:

“When we came down, we jumped in as well. I pulled him up from the shoulders, and Gillian and Cillian pushed him up because it was kind of up a bank.

“At that time, we were on to 999 – they were on speaker. We weren’t sure whether we could move him or not really, and they just said take him out of the water and just put him on his side.

“He was unresponsive for a while… We were waiting for about 15 minutes or more for the ambulance because they couldn’t really get out to us or find us, even though we could hear the sirens. Eventually he did come right.”

Sharon also says some of the credit has to go to Cillian’s dog, Rio, who was the first to notice something was wrong:

“He was just walking the dog and he literally had just passed [the man] and said hello, and his dog stopped – just suddenly stopped in his tracks and looked behind because he probably sensed something.

“Cillian said he didn’t even hear him falling into the water, he didn’t hear a splash or anything.

“It was the dog that noticed, which is amazing really!”

KCLR News understands that the man is recovering in hospital now.

Rio, the hero dog