Derry family’s rip current warning after child rescue on Culdaff beach

The grateful family of a young Derry boy who was saved after getting into difficulty at Culdaff beach have highlighted the dangers of rip currents.

Six-year-old David Moore and his friend were in the shallow part of the waters - up to their knees - on Wednesday afternoon when the ball they were playing with floated out.

Young David went after it and the water was just up to his waist when he got caught in the rip current (sometimes called a riptide) and was pulled underwater. His terrified mother, Sarah, had been sprinting down to her son to tell him not to venture out any further when she saw him disappear.

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Luckily, a gentleman from Dublin, with strong local connections, saw what had unfolded, gave the child he was holding to Sarah’s friend and ran into the water to help.

David Junior, with his daddy David Senior.

Young David’s father, David senior, told the ‘Journal’ how the man ‘couldn’t get his feet under him’ due to the current but then ‘thankfully,’ managed to do so and rescued the child.

“Sarah saw him walk out of the water with David in his arms. She thought he was a goner and it was all over. David was lifeless, but all of a sudden he started to cough and cry and got the water up. They got him into the recovery position and he came around then. He was in shock and crying.”

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In the panic and relief Sarah didn’t get the rescuer’s name. She posted a status on Facebook later that evening in a bid to find the ‘real life superhero.’ It was shared over 2,000 times and spotted by the man’s brother-in-law.

The Moore family later spoke to the rescuer and expressed their immense gratitude. David Snr. confirmed the man did not want any public recognition and was just glad that David Jnr. was alright. David Snr. said they could never repay him for what he did.

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“There is nothing in this world I could offer him to repay him. I have no words. He was meant to be there that day. There wouldn’t always be that many people on that part of the beach. It’s about 300 yards up the beach, around the middle, in front of a big rock. It’s where we always sit. Last year, there were two lifeguards there, but we haven’t seen any the last couple of times we’ve been down. They might not have got to David in time anyway, so this man was meant to be there.”

David Jnr. was later checked out in Altnagelvin hospital, where he got a clean bill of health and is ‘doing great.’ The brave youngster even went back into the water at Foyle Arena the following day.

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David Snr. urged everyone to be aware of the dangers of rip currents and said a number of people have since told him that Culdaff beach, for one, can be ‘dangerous for them.’

Last week, RNLI lifeguards in County Derry and along the Causeway Coast confirmed they had rescued a large number of people from rip currents.

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They encouraged people if they can, to also avoid swimming near rocks or sea defences where there can be permanent rip currents that pull you out to sea.

They said they were also experiencing incidents where people are not just suffering from the effects of struggling in the water, but who are also picking up injuries such as cuts from being dragged along the rocks.’