A five-year-old girl was rescued on Portmarnock beach in Ireland July 22, after being swept out to sea with a floaty. Her Virginian rescuers were Walter Butler, 21, twin brothers Eoghan and Declan Butler, 18, and their brother-in-law Alex Thomson, 24.
The young men had recently started to enjoy the water when they heard someone calling for a lifeguard.
They saw a girl on a “pink flamingo floaty screaming for help,” as reported by Independent.ie. The current was pulling her away from the shoreline.
Walter is a health services technician for the United States Coast Guard. He decided to remain on the beach while the rest of them tried to reach the child.
“As we swam out, I realized that if this girl needed to be revived or needed any medical attention, I had to be in my best shape to provide first aid,” Walter said.
“You could see the brave little girl fighting for her life. She was doing everything she could to stay alive. Luckily, she gave it her all and Eoghan had enough time to grab her.”
Presently, Declan and Alex also reached the girl and assisted Eoghan in bringing her back to the shore.
“There’s not enough words out there to describe the exact moment,” Eoghan said, “but when I saw her in the vastness of the sea struggling to keep her head above water, all I could do was to reassure her that people were out there for her and to ask for her to keep strong.”
The ordeal took its toll on the girl.
“When we finally got there, she was a nervous wreck. Luckily, I was able to take her mind off of the matter by talking to her, asking her when her birthday was, what her favorite color was and other things.”
As the stress of the event increased, Alex thought of the baby girl he and his partner are expecting in October.
“The main thing I was thinking about was we couldn’t lose that little girl. I’m expecting a daughter in October and was empathizing with the father’s fear. I just couldn’t imagine the pain he and the family would have felt had she gone under.”
Declan said he was “grateful” that the group decided to go to the beach that day and were in a position to “help that unfortunate girl out.”
“I’m so glad that she has the chance to see life now, and hope she can truly enjoy it,” he said.
The girl was taken to a children’s hospital and her condition has been described as non-life-threatening.
The girl’s father, who did not give his name, told The Irish Mirror: “Only for them, my daughter wouldn’t be here today.” He said that he was screaming for assistance “helplessly” as the situation unfolded.
“They were so brave. They should get an award,” he said.
“My daughter was taken to hospital, but she is safe and well at home now. I’d really like to thank those men.”
Read the Irish News story here.
Note: The young girl has been reported to be both 5 and 6 years old. Her age is thereabouts.