Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Lough hero who saved drowning teenager up for award

A council employee who rescued a teenager from drowning in Lough Neagh is being recommended for a Royal Humane Society award.

Eddie Magee, a duty officer with Craigavon Borough Council, dived into the lough at 4am last Sunday and hauled out the teenager who was in difficulties at the council-owned showpiece Kinnego Marina.

It was an amazing spot of good luck for the young man, who had gone under twice and was on his last gasp.

Expert Eddie, who wasn’t even on duty but happened to be staying overnight on his boat which was moored at the marina, is highly trained to deal with such emergencies.

And such was his courage and expertise that his boss, Kinnego Harbour manager Paddy Prunty, is putting his name forward for the society award.

Hero Eddie said: “I was wakened at around 4am by youths in a panic and rushed out to see what was happening.

“I spotted two youths at the inner breakwater who weren’t in immediate danger and a third out in the lough who was terrified and drowning.”

Eddie swiftly alerted the coastguards, swam out to the struggling youth, administered first aid and hauled him to the bank — in what Paddy Prunty described as an exhibition of safety procedure — and then helped the others onto dry land.

They were all taken to hospital with one of them having a cut on his head, but were later discharged.

“If Eddie hadn’t been on the scene we’d have been looking for one body in the massive expanse of Lough Neagh and maybe three,” said Mr Prunty. “The PSNI, coastguards and Lough Neagh Rescue were quickly all on the scene and I am commending Eddie for a Royal Humane Society Award.”

Eddie added: “It was a case of being in the right place at the right time. If it had been another morning, we’d be looking at at least one fatality.”

Craigavon Mayor Meta Crozier said: “Eddie put his own life at risk to save this young man and we are very proud of him.

“The borough council thanks and congratulates him. He is the true hero of the lough.”

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