A TEENAGER who held onto her aunt and kept her safe in the River Barrow while she was having a heart attack is to be presented with a bravery award by the Irish Water Safety board.
Sandra Keane (18) from Borris was in the river swimming with her daughter Abbi, her niece Bebhinn Keane and other youngsters in August when she began to suffer a massive heart attack.
Bebhinn, who had extensive training in water safety, reacted immediately and, knowing that her aunt couldn’t make it up the riverbank on her own, held onto her in the water for a full 90 minutes until an ambulance crew arrived. It was an excruciating wait as Sandra tried to stay calm amid terrible pain and fear.
The ambulance crew eventually arrived and had to winch Sandra up the riverbank as carefully as possible before rushing her to Waterford University Hospital.
“Bebhinn held me tight to keep me warm with her body heat. She kept me calm and even sang songs to me. I knew that she loved me and wouldn’t let go of me. She kept me safe,” an emotional Sandra told The Nationalist back in August after the incident.
Months later and Sandra, who is a psychiatric nurse, is slowly recovering from her terrifying ordeal. She was “delighted” when she heard that her brave niece-in-law is going to receive the Seiko ‘Just in time’ award at the Irish Water Safety awards in Dublin Castle next week.
“I’m absolutely delighted that Bebhinn is getting the recognition for what she did. It’s brilliant,” said Sandra.
Sandra (née Dempsey) is married to Brendan, whose family, including Bebhinn, hail from Dromore, Co Sligo.