21 year old Apu Gupta can be seen standing on the edge of a cliff at the renowned Wormhole on Inishmore, the largest of the three Aran Islands off the coast of Ireland.. With her camera in hand, a giant wave suddenly sweeps her off the cliff, 40 feet below, onto rocks, and alongside the treacherous Wormhole.
The accident was witnessed by advanced paramedic, Seamus McCarthy and his teacher, Fionnuala Quigley who were on a day out in Aran and had dropped by the Wormhole to view it for themselves.
"A giant wave came and just swept her off and down onto the rocks below”, said Seamus. “We could see her almost being swept out to sea, so I took out my phone to dial 999 but there was no reception. Fionnuala ran to the nearest house to get help and call the coastguard or whoever and I could see the girl trying to limp away to safety, but she couldn't manage it. "Her mother was hysterical and I went over to try to see if I could reach the girl, but I couldn't. "We got down part of the way, but no further - it was very dangerous. Other people came and we managed to get an army-type jacket and a backpack and we hooked the jacket onto the backpack”.
The makeshift rescue rope was lowered to Apu and she tightened the backpack around her waist while Seamus and another visitor managed to pull her slowly up the cliff face with one arm of the jacket. “It was still dangerous on the cliff ledge and we sat her down to calm her before getting her all the way to safety”, said Seamus. He managed to stabilize her ankle and kept her warm before the rescue helicopter arrived and whisked her across Galway Bay to the hospital.
Today Apu said that Seamus and Fionnuala had saved her life. A student of economics in London, she had only started taking a video of the scenery when she saw the giant wave coming at her. “I tried to run, but it pushed me straight down. It was like being in a waterfall and that probably cushioned the fall. I was so scared because I thought the wave was going to come again. My ankle was completely smashed and the pain was bad. Seamus saved my life and the policeman there was also wonderful. Everyone was so helpful to me”, said Apu.