Culmore Slipway rescue duo praised

Culmore Point, Derry. (Google Earth)
Culmore Point, Derry. (Google Earth)

Transport NI bosses said they are “incredibly proud” of two of their employees who have saved the life of a driver whose car almost fell from a slipway into the River Foyle today.

Local men Darren McGrellis and Raymond Shields swept into action after hearing the man’s cries for help from inside his vehicle at Culmore Point this afternoon.

The Department for Regional Development have now confirmed the identity of the heroic duo, who got the man to safety and returned to place rocks under his car tyres after noticing it was still slipping into the fast-flowing waters of the Foyle.

The driver, who was in his 60s, managed to escape unhurt following the intervention of Mr Shields and Mr McGrellis, who were joined shortly afterwards by Fire & Rescue personnel.

The circumstances of how he ended up on the slipway are not yet known.

The incident comes just weeks after five members of the same Derry family lost their lives in the Buncrana Pier tragedy in similar circumstances.

Mr McGrellis and Mr Shields were working in Culmore and just parked and alighted from the lorry at The Point when they heard the man shouting and saw the car on the slipway.

The man was on the phone to the emergency services at the time trying desperately to raise the alarm.

The two men then spoke to the emergency services themselves and were advised to help the man out of the car. After getting him away from the slipway, they took him to a bench and while talking to him noticed the car was sliding down further towards the water.

The men put rocks under the wheels to stop it sliding and when emergency services arrived used their own vehicle to pull the car up from the slipway.

Praising the two men, a spokeswoman for the Department for Regional Development/ Transport NI said: “We are incredibly proud of these guys who reacted so quickly and so bravely in helping this man, who thankfully has removed safely from the car.”

A Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service spokesperson said earlier today:

“We received a call today (Tuesday) at 12.58pm to attend an incident involving a car stuck on a slipway at Culmore Point, Derry.

“One appliance from Northland Fire Station attended the scene.

“Before the arrival of firefighters, personnel from DoE Road Service, who were in the area at the time, assisted a male in his 60’s from his car to safety. He was uninjured.

“Using a rope and attaching it to the tow bar of the Road Service Lorry, Firefighters assisted by Road Service personnel, towed the car off the slipway. The car was not damaged.

“The incident was dealt with at 1.19pm.”