The presence of a lifebuoy was vital during last night's rescue (File Pic)

'Hero' dad uses lifebuoy to rescue woman from Boyne

A father-of-three who rescued a woman from the Boyne river in Drogheda said that if there had not been a working life ring at the water's edge, "she would most likely have died". 

Aidan Townley, whose family are undertakers in the town, was walking home after a meal with his wife and three children to mark their youngest child's first birthday, when events unfolded. 

The family were on the Bridge of Peace over the Boyne when a man ran towards him and said someone was in the water. 

"I looked over down into the water and got the shock of my life," he said.

There was a woman "splashing away and shouting 'help, help, help',". 

He shouted to his wife Sheryl to ring 999 and he "hopped over the railings onto the grass bank and down towards the river". 

"Thank God there was a ring buoy, I grabbed hold of the box, opened it up and pulled it out of the box. 

"I ran to the edge of the river and let a shout at her. I fired the ring buoy out to her and told her to grab a hold of it and hold onto it and she did, thank God." 

He was able to start pulling the rope to bring her in from the river, which is known for its life-threatening currents. 

Mr Townley, who revealed he trained as a lifeguard when he was young, said: "Another chap came onto the scene and helped me pull her in. She was horrendously cold."

The woman was able to hold onto the side of a large gabion at the side of river and then the gardaí arrived and an ambulance was called to bring her to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. 

The rescue happened around 9.30pm on Sunday night.
Aidan Townley and his family

Mr Townley was watched by Sheryl and their three children, Erin, 8, Rosa, 3, and Rían, 1, and when he rejoined them on the bridge his daughters ran up to him shouting 'daddy is a hero'.

Speaking today, he emphasised the importance of having accessible and maintained life rings.

He said: "It if was not there, she would most likely have died. She was trying to swim up against the current.

"I trained as a lifeguard and it came back to me that the last thing you do is get into the water; you 'reach, throw, wade or row'."

He said he is "very shook after it, it is very surreal feeling," but is very happy that "everyone was safe at the end of it".