Belfast Telegraph

Father thanks heroes who found his seven-year-old son on beach

By Lesley Houston

The father of twins who endured "pure hell" after he feared his son had been swept up in waves off a Co Antrim beach, has appealed on social media for the heroes who came to his aid to come forward.

Ronan O Scollain wants to personally thank the "selfless" people who helped find his seven-year-old son at Cushendall beach after words literally failed him when the child was found safe and well.

The teacher from west Belfast, who was left traumatised, wants to pay tribute to the "humanity" of those who "put their own lives at risk" by searching for little Ruairi.

The boy had been playing with his dad and sister Aoibhin on a beach in Cushendun when Ronan left the water for less than two minutes to answer the phone, warning his son, who has been taking swimming lessons for two years, not to stray out too far.

He said when he turned around Ruairi had disappeared, prompting panic as he frantically searched for his child.

"You can imagine the fear and I was getting to the stage where I feared he was completely gone," said the Colaiste Feirste teacher.

"I started screaming and asking people to phone for help. I don't know whether it was five minutes or 20 and I was going into complete meltdown."

He said people cared for his daughter as others jumped into the sea searching the shoreline, trying to offer what aid they could.

Some time later, his son appeared, having been only about 100 metres away, perhaps out of sight, kneeling down searching rock pools. Ronan said, "It was the scariest time of my life."

Belfast Telegraph


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