A Nenagh man who was swept a mile down the Nenagh River while out kayaking last Sunday remains in University Hospital Limerick this Wednesday.
The man was part of a three-person team on the river and was wearing proper safety gear which helped save his life. All of the kayakers are experienced boat users.
The man went over the weir at Ballyartella and got into difficulty, but his companions managed to get a safety line to him. However, he was swept away. They then chased down the bank while making frantic calls to the rescue services before he was rescued by the RNLI.
Members of the emergency services, including the Gardai and local fire crew, had tried unsuccessfully to recover the man from the side of the river and called on the RNLI lifeboat crew from Lough Derg to launch and help rescue him.
It is thought the man fell out of his kayak on the approach to the weir at Ballyartella on the Ballycommon to Puckaun road.
Commenting on the callout, Lough Derg RNLI lifeboat helm Eleanor Hooker said: “This was an extremely serious situation and one where every second counted. If he had not been spotted and help had not reached him when it did he was in serious danger of being pulled under by the current.
“All the emergency services worked together to try and recover him as the speed with which he was being dragged down the river was increasing rapidly.”
Ms Hooker said that the lifeboat had to navigate the difficult waters of the Nenagh River which were strewn with debris following the recent bad weather.
The kayaker was semi-conscious and was turning in the water when the lifeboat crew arrived on the scene.
The RNLI volunteers spotted the man just past Annabeg bridge.
Two of the three lifeboat crew recovered the man over the side of the inshore lifeboat and he was immediately brought back to the station at Dromineer. The lifeboat crew administered first aid en route.
They were met in Dromineer by a waiting ambulance and the Coast Guard helicopter from Shannon.
The paramedic gave the casualty first aid and a decision was made to transfer him by helicopter to hospital in Limerick for treatment.