4 Virginia brothers, Walter Butler 21, twins Declan and Eoghan Butler 18, and their brother-in-law Alex Thomson, 24, came to the rescue of a 6-year-old girl who had been swept out to sea on an inflatable pool lounger at Portmarnock beach in North Dublin, Ireland on Monday.
The four young men came to Portmarnock for their Irish grandfather’s funeral, immediately went into rescue mode, diving into the water towards a pink flamingo pool toy from which the girl they believe is called Sierra had fallen, according to Irish Mirror.
“Our initial reactions were just pure instinct- just to jump in the water and go for it,” Eoghan said.
Walter, who is serving in the United States Coast Guard as a health services technician, decided to stay on the beach while the others swam out to the frightened child.
“Looking back there was no lifeguard, no EMS, so I headed back to shore so I would be in the best shape if need be because these guys certainly would’ve been tired by then,” Walter said.
“You could see the brave little girl fighting for her life. She was doing everything she could to stay alive. Luckily, she gave it her all and Eoghan had enough time to grab her,” he added.
The little girl was a “nervous wreck” by the time Eoghan had reached her.
The brave men kept talking to the girl during the rescue in an attempt to distract her and keep her head above water.
American heroes rescued girl, 6, from drowning at Portmarnock beach in Dublinhttps://t.co/E74FXQ3ZGu
— Irish Daily Mirror (@IrishMirror) July 23, 2019
As the commotion and stress grew around the men, Alex thought of the baby girl he and his partner are expecting in October, according to Independent.ie.
“The main thing I was thinking about was we couldn’t lose that little girl. I’m expecting a daughter in October, and was empathizing with the father’s fear,” he said. “I just couldn’t imagine the pain he and the family would have felt had she gone under.”
“I’m feeling good now. I slept well knowing the girl was safe at home,” he added.
Declan said he was “grateful” that the group decided to go to the beach yesterday and were in a position to “help that unfortunate girl out.”
“I’m so glad that she has the chance to see life now, and hope she can truly enjoy it,” he said.
The Irish Coast Guard was notified and units from the Howth RNLI, as well as the Dublin Fire Brigade, rushed to the scene.
Paramedics treated the young girl at the scene before she was taken to Temple Street Children’s Hospital.
Her condition has been described as non-life-threatening.