Buncrana pier hero receives Spirit of NI Award

The  courageous Kerrykeel man who risked his own life to help save a baby from drowning was bestowed with a bravery award at the Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards.

Davitt Walsh, along with his girlfriend, Stephanie Knox, were honoured at the star-studded ceremony for their heroic actions on the evening of Sunday, March 20, when five members of the one family from Derry tragically drown when their car entered the water from Buncrana slipway.

Sean McGrotty, his two young sons, Mark and Evan, their grandmother, Ruth Daniels and her teenage daughter, Jodie-Lee Daniels all died in the tragedy.


Despite Davitt’s desperate attempts to save the family, the sole survivor of the tragedy was four-month old baby, Rioghnach-Ann, who was rescued from the sinking Audi Q7 car by the Donegal man when he swam into the River Swilly to come to the aid of the family. He and his partner just happened to be at the pier that evening.

There was high praise for Stephanie too, who played a crucial role once baby Rioghnach-Ann was rescued by removing her wet clothes and keeping her warm until emergency services arrived.

Little Rioghnach-Ann’s mum, Louise James, hailed Davitt a hero in the wake of the tragedy.


Davitt Walsh, second left, receives the Spirit of NI Award for his heroic actions when tragedy unfolded in Buncrana.

Davitt Walsh, second left, receives the Spirt of NI Award for his heroic actions when tragedy unfolded in Buncrana.

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