Emergency Services from counties Kildare, Laois and Wicklow responded to an incident in Athy, Co. Kildare last night after emergency calls reported that a car had entered the canal with ‘unknown numbers on board’. Fire and Ambulance personnel saved a man from drowning after the car in which he was travelling in plunged into the canal at Cardington, just outside Athy.
The incident happened just before 10.30pm last night when a car travelling on the Stradbally to Athy road crashed through a barrier at the bridge and plunged into the canal.
Two Units of Kildare Fire Service from Athy and Monasterevin and the Stradbally unit from Laois County Fire Service were alerted to the incident by the Eastern Regional Control Centre in Townsend Street, Dublin while three Ambulances and Advanced Paramedics from the HSE National Ambulance Service were mobilised from Athy, Portlaoise and Baltinglass by the Ambulance Service’s National Emergency Operations Centre in Tallaght.
(Distant Scene of last nights incident)
It’s understood initial reports relayed to the emergency services was that there ‘unknown’ numbers’ of people in the car at the time of the crash. The National Emergency Operations Centre confirmed to Emergency Times this afternoon that they received a report of ‘a car entering the canal in Athy with unknown numbers on board’.
Athy Fire Service was first at the scene within minutes of being alerted and worked quickly to rescue the man. They managed to bring him to dry-land where awaiting ambulance paramedics worked alongside fire fighters to save the casualty. In a statement to Emergency Times, the NEOC said ‘Our crews working with the Fire and Rescue services and the Gardai recovered one patient. Our Paramedics and Advanced Paramedics continued care on scene and en route to hospital’.
(Athy Fire Station)
As other fire and ambulance crews arrived at the scene, fire fighters trained in Swift Water Rescue re-entered the canal in search of any other persons reported to have been in the car at the time. Thankfully however, after a considerable and wide-area search by the Kildare and Laois fire services, there were no more persons located in the submerged car or the water.
Athy Station Officer Ben Woodhouse praised the work of the fire and ambulance personnel. Speaking to Emergency Times SO Woodhouse said ‘It’s very rare that the outcome is good in these type of calls, but thankfully on this occasion, it has been so far. Our firefighters managed to rescue a man from a car submerged in water in very difficult conditions. This is what they work to, and it shows their professionalism at every level and both the fire and ambulance paramedics at the scene last night are to be commended’ he said.
Locals in the town have praised both the fire and ambulance service personnel for their prompt action and in searching the canal for any other persons believed to be under water.
The road remained closed this afternoon as Gardai carry out a technical examination of the road. Gardai in Kildare are investigating. The man, believed to be in his 40’s is recovering in Portlaoise Hospital.