A TRUCK driver with family roots in Thurles has received Canada’s highest honour for bravery after saving a man’s life by pulling him from a burning van, moments before it exploded.
Darren Coogan, who once attended Coláiste Mhuire Co-Ed in Thurles and who lived for a while in the Littleton Road in Thurles, has been awarded with Canada’s Medal of Bravery after he risked his own life to pull a stranger from a burning van loaded with fuel and flammable liquids. The story is told in a recent edition of the Reader’s Digest, ‘No Way Out - Trapped in His Van, The Man Began His Final Prayers’.
Thurles husband and wife Michael and Anne Costello told the Tipperary Star that their nephew was born in England, but spent part of his life in Thurles. Darren’s parents are Tony and Patricia Coogan.
In November 11th, 2006, Satwinder Singh Bajwa was on his way to work in Ontario, Canada when his van collided with a deer crossing a road. Satwinder’s van, laden with fuel cans and chemicals, careered across three lanes of traffic striking a pole head on. Trapped in the van and with no way out, Satwinder “tried to squeeze through a 20-centimetre gap between the top of the door and the roof of the twisted cab, but it was too small.
“Flames flickered around his foot. His cargo could explode at any time,” writes Ian Harvey in the Reader’s Digest.
But Darren came to the rescue, risking his own life in the process. “Coogan, 29, made his living on Toronto-area roadways and had been on his way to work, just a few hundred metres behind Bajwa when the deer jumped into the lane.”
Full story in this week’s Tipperary Star