Belfast Telegraph

Friday 4 September 2015

Hero Pole saves drowning man as bystanders gawk

By Elaine Keogh

Published 28/12/2011

A Polish man out shopping with his daughter in the Republic of Ireland jumped into the freezing River Boyne to rescue a drowning man while hundreds of people looked on.

Sylvester Mitorag (29) said he has been an angler for 20 years and had no fear of the water as he went to the man's aid.

Rescue services who came on the scene said "there is no doubt the passer-by saved the casualty's life".

Speaking from his home in Co Louth, Sylvester said he had taken his daughter Wiktoria (7) to the Scotch Hall shopping centre, beside the Boyne in Drogheda on Boxing Day.

"When we finished shopping we saw on the white (pedestrian) bridge, loads of people there and a couple of women were screaming 'there is someone in the river,'" he said. "There were maybe 150/200 people there and no-one jumped in (to save him). No-one did anything," he said.

Sylvester was determined to rescue him but it took two attempts before he could get into the river. First he tried to jump in from de Lacy Bridge but was prevented by large safety railings.

"So I thought to let him go down the river a bit and I ran straight to Drogheda Port and jumped from there because there was a ladder there." He was in the water about two minutes when the gardai arrived.

They threw him a life-ring and he took it with him as he swam out to grab the man in distress. He held on to him for about four minutes until boats arrived from the Boyne Rescue service.

The distressed man was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.

Sylvester said he took action because: "Everyone deserves to live."

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