Survivor backs RNLI Christmas appeal in Ireland

Lifeboats News Release

A man whose life was saved by the RNLI off the Waterford coast earlier this year, has urged people to support the RNLI’s Christmas appeal. Michael Power from Tramore had been sea swimming when he got into serious difficulty.

Rescued swimmer

RNLI/Pat Browne

Rescued swimmer Michael Power with Tramore RNLI

Pulled unconscious from the water by Tramore RNLI, the lifeboat crew never gave up on him and despite his family being called to his bedside to say goodbye, Michael went on to make a full recovery. Now in thanks to the volunteer lifeboat crew that saved his life, Michael is calling on people to support his lifesavers after the RNLI have seen a drop in income as traditional fundraising activities had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

In January this year Michael Power set off for a swim along the Guillamene cove in Tramore, county Waterford. A regular swimmer Michael kept his head down and was aware of other swimmers in the vicinity. Not keeping an eye as he usually did on the coastline, he eventually became aware that he was not moving even after increasing his strokes. He had become caught in a rip current and could not get out of it. He tried to get to safety, but he was rapidly losing energy and began to panic. Michael subsequently learned that he had developed Hypothermia before slipping into a coma. He has no memory of the man who raised the alarm from the shore or the RNLI lifeboat crew who were on scene minutes later to find him face down in the water and unresponsive. Onlookers from the cliff watched in shock as the volunteer crew pulled him lifeless from the water and commenced CPR. His next memory is waking up in hospital with his family having been called in to say goodbye.

Now Michael wants to thank his rescuers by calling on people to support the RNLI’s Christmas appeal and donate to the charity that saves lives at sea and on inland waters. Michael has also been down to the lifeboat station to thank his rescuers in person, along with his grateful family.

Commenting on his near drowning Michael said, ‘I am known as the miracle man around here now. I am so grateful to my rescuers and that I am here to be able to tell my story. I know the lifeboat crew who rescued me personally, as I live locally and swim in the sea regularly, so I can only imagine how difficult it was for them to pull me out of the sea in that condition. The doctors told me that I should not have survived, and that the lifeboat crew undoubtedly saved my life. So, this is my way of saying thank you.’

‘When I visited the lifeboat station, they presented me with my swimming cap and googles that they had kept safe, unsure if I would survive but unwilling to dispose of them. It was an extremely emotional moment and I have plans to frame them as a reminder of that day that I can’t even remember. I know there are so many families out there who have reason to be grateful to the RNLI and mine certainly have, they are tremendous people.’

The RNLI have launched their Christmas appeal this year as so many traditional community fundraising events such as raft races, open days and sea swims have had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus restrictions. This year the charity has spent funds on PPE, including face masks, gloves and thousands of litres of hand sanitiser. This is money the charity hadn’t budgeted for but needed to be spent to keep its lifesavers and the public protected during the coronavirus crisis.

To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal people are being asked to visit: RNLI.org/Xmas

Ends

RNLI media contacts

For information contact Niamh Stephenson, RNLI Media Manager Tel: 087 1254 124 email Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk or Nuala McAloon, RNLI Media Officer Tel: 087 648 3547 email Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk

Rescued swimmer Michael Power with Tramore RNLI Helm Fergal McGrath crew Alec Fitzmaurice and Helm David McGrath

RNLI/Pat Browne

Rescued swimmer Michael Power with Tramore RNLI Helm Fergal McGrath crew Alec Fitzmaurice and Helm David McGrath
Rescued swimmer Michael Power with Tramore RNLI David McGrath, Alec Fitzmaurice and Fergal McGrath

RNLI/Pat Browne

Rescued swimmer Michael Power with Tramore RNLI David McGrath, Alec Fitzmaurice and Fergal McGrath

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.