Local people praised for key role in rescue

The Foyle Bridge in Derry.

The Foyle Bridge in Derry.

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A Northern Ireland Ambulance Service representative has praised members of the public who helped prevent a man falling off the Foyle Bridge in Derry.

Ambulance Service Divisional Training Officer for the West, Seamus McAllister, was with some new recruits and undertaking an emergency response driving demonstration, and happened to be on the bridge at the time of the incident.

The incident unfolded on Tuesday at around 4.20pm.

The ambulance personnel came up on the Foyle Bridge and, noticing a lot of traffic backed up, at first thought there may have been an accident. They quickly spotted a few members of the public holding on to a young man struggling to free himself from their grip on the far side of the railings.

Local drivers had stopped their cars and ran to try and prevent the young man, who had climbed over the railings at the highes point of the Foyle Bridge, 80 ft above the water level, from falling.

The ambulance recruits ran to the scene and helped to hold on to the man as Mr McAllister ran back to the vehicle and got some straps used for spinal boards.

The ambulance personnel and members of the public then managed to get one of the straps around the man, while he continued to struggle to free himself.

Police were also quickly on the scene and the man had to be handcuffed through the railing bars for his own safety. Those present then worked together to get him safely over the railings, and he was later taken by ambulance to Altnagelvin Hospital.

Mr McAllister said it was important to recognise the part played by the members of the public who were first on the scene. The co-operation between the Ambulance personnel, PSNI and those local people is understood to have saved the man’s life.