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Hero American tourist robbed while rescuing drowning man in Dublin's River Liffey


Tourist Joe Sheehan (right) and the man he rescued from the River Liffey

Tourist Joe Sheehan (right) and the man he rescued from the River Liffey

Tourist Joe Sheehan (right) and the man he rescued from the River Liffey

An American tourist was robbed of his wallet and smartphone while rescuing a man from the River Liffey in Dublin.

Joe Sheehan (20), from Nebraska, had just arrived in Dublin when he saw the man get into trouble in the river.

Joe, a trained lifeguard, took his valuables out of his pockets and jumped into the water.

He helped the man to safety, only to be told his Samsung Galaxy as well as his wallet containing €100 and £40 sterling had been stolen.

The incident happened on Saturday evening at Aston Quay.


Joe, whose great grandmother emigrated to the US from Ireland, said: "I'd just got in about five o'clock at the port. I was walking around, couldn't find a hostel, grabbed a bite to eat and took some money out of the ATM.

"I was walking across O'Connell Bridge and on the south bank I saw some guy who had climbed down and he jumped into the water.

"At first he was laughing and he tried to swim back to the steps to get back up but he couldn't make it. He started getting pulled away by the current.

"I was just standing on the bridge and watching. His head started to go under so I ran around to the side and took everything out of my pockets, took my trousers and shirt off.

"I tried to grab his hand and extend a jacket to him. He wouldn't grab it so I jumped in and swam him back to where he could get up."

Joe was "covered in Liffey" and in his underwear when he climbed out.

He was then told that someone had taken his wallet and phone.

"They just picked them up and ran off," said Joe, who had travelled from London where he is a student.

"I'm standing there in my underwear, just soaking wet, and I literally have nothing now.

The man he saved was "very, very emotional", said Joe.

"He said, 'Thank you so much'. He was obviously overcome because he knew that he was screwed. He had some other friends up on the bank and they were the ones who started screaming for help.

"I don't recommend swimming in the River Liffey. It's not quite as much fun as you'd imagine."


A woman who witnessed the theft followed the culprit down the street and found him sitting between bins. However, gardai were unable to locate him later on.

Joe, who left Dublin last night, also experienced the good side of the city.

Bystanders Hugh, Cathal and Katie were so disgusted at what happened that they treated him to a night out.

A garda spokeswoman said the theft, which was reported at 8.45pm, is under investigation. No arrests have been made.

Belfast Telegraph