OVER 40 people have been stopped from entering the River Foyle in the first four months of 2014 alone, the Derry Journal has learned.
The figure accounts for over half of the 76 episodes dealt with by Foyle Search and Rescue staff and volunteers from the start of January to May 5th.
Of the 30 pager call outs, two bodies have been recovered, five people were taken out of the water alive, and 16 people where taken away from the railings to safety.
Of other 46 night duty incidents, there were another five episodes of people being successfully rescued after entering the water.
A further 25 were prevented from entering the water in the first place.
The figures show a marked increase on previous years for the same period.
They were obtained by the Journal after it emerged that a 21-year-old man’s life was saved on the Foyle Bridge on Tuesday night.
Darren Hylands from Eglinton earlier this week told the Journal how he and his brother-in-law Paul McDermott had grabbed hold of the young fellow just as he let go of railings.
Stephen Twells, chairman of Foyle Search and Rescue, said that they were expecting to have a busy few months ahead based on the first few months of 2014.
He said: “76 incidents is high for us, the highest in a good number of years.
“It has certainly been very busy and even the last week we certainly are coming into contact with more people.
“There are a lot of people that we are coming into contact with that are very distressed.
“If the first three months are anything to go by we are in for a very busy year.”
Those concerned about or wanting to know more about looking after their mental health are advised that information is available at www.mindingyourhead.info, while Lifeline can be contacted by anyone who is, or knows someone who is, in distress or despair on 0808 808 8000 or at www.lifelinehelpline.info. The confidential service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Foyle Search and Rescue Service’s Annual Bucket Appeal will take place from Monday 19th May to Sunday 31st May, throughout different areas within the city.
During the appeal, Foyle Search and Rescue volunteers will be knocking on doors between 6pm and 9pm each night.
All authorised collectors will carry FS&R identification card.