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23rd Feb 2022

Friend of Cork man who died after sudden fall hailed as hero

Gary performed CPR on his friend for 40 minutes.

A man who attempted to save his friend’s life after a sudden fall in Cork is being hailed as a hero.

22-year-old Conor King tragically passed away following an accident while camping in Garretstown on 24 April, 2021. As RTÉ reports, the young man fell 60 feet down a blowhole.

At an inquest into King’s death, his mother paid tribute to her son’s friend Gary Barrett, who immediately attempted to save him.

Mr Barrett, who has lifeguard training, got into the blowhole and tried to revive Conor. He entered the blowhole by the sea to gain access to his friend.

Meanwhile, other friends in the group helped by using their phones as torches to illuminate the hole as they waited for emergency services.

The inquest, which took place at a courthouse in Bandon, heard how Garrett performed CPR on Conor for 40 minutes until he had to be persuaded to stop by emergency services so that he himself could be treated for hypothermia.

The inquest also heard how Gary didn’t want to be rescued from the area without his friend.

Conor’s mum Maura paid tribute to her son’s friends at the hearing, and said that she will be forever in their debt. She also urged them to remember the “beautiful days” they had with Conor before his passing.

Conor’s dad Eamonn said that his son packed in a lot of living before his life was cut short.

Another one of Conor’s friends, Mark Morton, spoke about their efforts to keep him alive during the accident.

Mr Morton said that Gary “cradled” Conor’s head to try and stop the waves coming over his face.

Coroner Frank O’Connell applauded Gary for his “heroic bravery”. He also thanked the Irish Coastguard’s Eamonn Barry, who oversaw the rescue mission and prevented any further loss of life.

The coroner ruled the death to be accidental.