A local couple have been recognised for their bravery at a recent Police awards ceremony after “going above and beyond” to help rescue a man (79) who had fallen in water and become trapped.

Niall Carney from Lisnaskea and Katelyn Mannion from Athlone were out walking their new puppy last November when they heard an unusual sound and decided to investigate.

Katelyn explained: “We had just got a new puppy and it was November so it was cold and it was wet but we had to get the dog out on the lead so we decided to bring him down to the Bird Walk in Lisnaskea.”

She continued: “We could hear this noise but it sounded very faint. We went up to where we could hear it from and it was a farmer’s field, which had a gate which was locked with a chain. We were looking down and we couldn’t see anybody, because there were reeds everywhere but there was a tossed wheelbarrow and I just thought, there’s something not right there.”

Katelyn waited at the gate with the puppy as Niall went towards the sound.

“When he didn’t come back, I went down after him and out in the muck and the reeds there was a plank of wood and there was a man hanging off the edge of the wood, he had fallen in,” said Katelyn.

In a bid to help the man who was trapped, Niall managed to climb on to a boat that was in the water and from there he was able to hold on to the man to stop him sinking deeper.

“It was the way he fell in to it, he just fell straight down and he was wearing waders as well so there was the weight of it all. Anytime he struggled he was just going deeper,” said Niall.

He continued: “I put my hands in underneath his armpits and held him because he was tired at that stage.” “He was out there for about 45 minutes to an hour before Niall went in and he was still in the water for an hour. We couldn’t hear him because he was so tired. He was exhausted, he had been fighting himself in the water and it was so cold, it was November so it was freezing,” added Katelyn.

Whilst Niall stayed with the man, Katelyn went back to the top of the field to call the emergency services. She stayed at the gate and directed the police and fire service to the location of the man when they arrived.

When asked what his initial thoughts were when he had spotted the man in the water, Niall said: “I just wanted to get him out. I kind of just jumped into action, I just wanted to help him out. I wasn’t scared or anything.”

With the help of Niall and Katelyn the emergency services were able to remove the man from the water.

“He was exhausted. By the end of it, when they did get him out, he had all of his weight on three people, he could barely even walk himself up the field,” said Katelyn.

Both Niall and Katelyn were recognised for their bravery at the PSNI South Area Award ceremony held on Wednesday, May 22. Temporary Superintendent Clive Beatty, Area Commander for Fermanagh and Omagh District said: “One thing that fills me with joy is that we have a community in this district that wants to help keep people safe, wants to help protect people and prevent harm. When we have people like Katelyn and Niall in our society, that makes my job so rewarding but also easier that I know that I can have the support of these people to help our community and we had recognised that they had gone above and beyond. They had this curious mind and kind heart that they wanted to go and investigate, not knowing what they were going to find or whether they could become victims themselves of the circumstance but yet, nevertheless showed their courage and bravery that helped save the life of a 79 year old man.”

“Based on what they have described, from what I have read from the report, had he not have got the help, he more than likely would have succumbed to hypothermia and we would have been looking for a missing person and not have been able to find them and ultimately we could have been recovering a dead person opposed to a thankful person,” concluded Temporary Superintendent Beatty.