A young Irish couple have been hailed as heroes after they saved the life of an Indian tourist who was washed into the sea by a giant wave.
Apu Gupta was knocked off her feet and into the sea when she was trying to film a unique wormhole on Inis Mor, an island off the coast of Galway.
The wormhole is a naturally occurring rectangle pool at the base of the cliff, and is a popular site for extreme divers.
Apu, who is studying economics in London, was on a short break with her mother on Inis Mor. She moved along the cliff to record the wormhole, unaware that she had placed herself in great danger.
Seamus McCarthy and his girlfriend Fionnuala Quigley were taking a short break on the island, and were walking past the wormhole at the time.
They witnessed Apu being swept off her feet and into the sea below, and raised the alarm before rescuing her with a makeshift safety rope and jacket.
Seamus spoke to the Irish Mirror about the terrifying ordeal: “We were about to go when we saw this girl taking a video by the edge of the cliff. A giant wave came and just swept her off and down onto the rocks below. We could see her almost being swept out to sea, so I took out my phone to dial 999 but there was no reception.
“Fionnuala ran to the nearest house to get help and call the coastguard or whoever and I could see the girl trying to limp away to safety, but she couldn’t manage it.
“Her mother was hysterical and I went over to try to see if I could reach the girl, but I couldn’t. We got down part of the way, but no further—it was very dangerous.
“Other people came and we managed to get an army-type jacket and a backpack and we hooked the jacket onto the backpack.”
Seamus managed to reach Apu with the rope, and with the help of other passers-by, they lifted her back up onto the cliff, before completing the rescue. Seamus, who is a paramedic, and Fionnuala, a teacher, wrapped Apu in clothes to keep her warm and sat with her until the air ambulance arrived and took her to hospital.
Her ankle was broken after it was smashed against the rocks when she fell, but thankfully she suffered no more serious injuries and is making a full recovery. She said: “I tried to run, but it [the wave] pushed me straight down. I was so scared. My ankle was completely smashed and the pain was bad. Seamus saved my life and the policeman there was also wonderful. Everyone was so helpful to me.”
Seamus said: “I only did what anyone would have done.” Apu’s father has flown in from India to be at his wife and daughter’s side, and to personally thank Seamus and Fionnuala for saving his daughter’s life.