A Dromore man has been praised for being part of a group of rescuers who came to the aid of a great-grandmother, who says she owes her life to the three brave young men.
Evelyn Millar (82), was rescued from her sinking car in the River Bann at Portadown on Friday November 14 by Dromore man Ryan Cummins, alongside Robert Best and Glen Martin.
And last week, Evelyn, who is recovering at her home at Tartaraghan, had the opportunity to meet the men and thank them personally.
Mrs Millar, who cannot swim, was pulled from the swollen river at teatime by the combined efforts of Ryan, Robert and Glen.
She had been trapped in the driving seat and was up to her chin in water before she managed to escape through a window and somehow found a bollard to cling on to.
She said, “I was screaming and roaring my head off. My head was under the water and I said to myself ’how do you swim?’ I thought of what a dog does and started scrabbling with my arms.”
It was sheer good luck that the rescuers were at Shillington’s car park, Portadown, when Mrs Millar got into trouble.
Ryan and Glen had gone to get some fishing bait, whilst Robert had taken his mother to show her how flooded the river was.
Ryan, 25, who cannot swim, described events on the evening. “We all heard screaming and when we looked the car was half submerged in water,” Ryan said.
“I ran up to the main road to get help. None of us could swim but no one would stop, so we went back.
“By the time we were back down the car was completely submerged and there was no sign of the elderly lady. “She then popped up out of the water. I ran around to the other side of the bank and took my clothes off and went into the water.
“My mate and another fella came with me and held onto me so I wasn’t swept away by the water,” he added.
“I got a hand to her and pulled her out and that was when the Fire Service and Police arrived.”
Ryan, a member of Portadown Pikers, said that during the rescue his thoughts turned to his two friends who had drowned on the Lough Ree fishing trip in April.
“When I got down to the water it was all coming back to me,” Ryan said,” But you just have to get on with it.”
Despite his heroics, Ryan says he is definitely not a hero.
“No, I wouldn’t call myself a hero,” Ryan commented. “There are people do more than I did everyday. I just had to try something to get her out.”
Ryan, who works at Craftstonem, says the reaction to events has been fantastic.
Speaking of his work colleagues’ reactions, he said: “They haven’t give over about it.”
Ryan was delighted to meet Evelyn last week as she thanked her three rescuers.
“It was great to see that she has made a full recovery,” he added.