The car being retreived from the River Lee in November. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Bandon hero to be honoured

By Geraldine Fitzgerald

Bandon man William Ross is to be honoured with a civic reception on 29 February at the Town Hall in Bandon for his part in the brave rescue of a woman from the River Lee last November.

Councillor Sean O’Donovan (Fianna Fáil), Chairman of the Bandon and Kinsale Municipal District, said: “It isn’t everyday that someone in the community is involved in such a heroic deed. I was blown away by his bravery.

“To risk his own life to save the life of someone else is quite extraordinary. You could have a hundred people standing there – but who would actually jump in?”

Electrician William Ross wouldn’t usually be near the river in Cork, but he happened to be completing a job for a client by the weighbridge on a very cold day on 27 November when he heard a commotion.​

“ I didn’t think about it for a second; it was just instinct. I’m not sure what all the fuss is about; anybody would have done it,” William said.

“I’m happy that the woman is back with her family, who love her,” he added.

A car had gone into the river at high speed off Kennedy Quay, with a woman inside. William ran and leaped onto a trawler berthed nearby.

Belgian fishermen Farid Langens and Kevin Roos had jumped off their trawler into the water, managing to get a line onto the car to stop it floating further down the river in the rapid current.

William had to jump down onto the car roof to smash the front window of the now sinking car, pulling the woman out.

Their weight caused the car to sink almost immediately, leaving all four people immersed in the frigid river.

A ladder was dropped from the trawler and William helped the woman aboard. After being checked over by Advanced Medical Services, who brought the woman to hospital, William went home in a Hazmat suit and boxer shorts; showered and went back to work.

There has not been a civic reception for a citizen since Cllr O’Donovan’s election four years ago, but he was so taken with William’s action that he nominated him for the honour.

The proposal was brought forward to the executive initially and went back to the councillors who were all in agreement.

Cllr John O’Sullivan (Fine Gael) said “As a public body we represent the citizens and where a citizen has made a contribution, I think that should be recognised.

“Where there’s a life being saved that is extraordinary, and William put his own life at risk to rescue that woman.”

Cllr Sean O’Donovan will host the reception, where William, a somewhat reluctant hero who believes anyone else would have done the same thing, will be joined by his wife, daughter and family.