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Young Irish couple 'lucky to be alive' after horror parasailing accident

Zoe and Noel
Zoe and Noel

A young Irish couple said they are “lucky to be alive” after a nightmare parasailing accident that left them plunging 30 feet into the ocean.

Noel Mounsey (23) has been hailed a hero after keeping his unconscious girlfriend Zoe O’Dwyer Kelly (20) afloat in the water, despite having injuries to his wrist, neck and shoulder.

Zoe from Rathmore, Co Kerry and Noel from Co Clare were living in Sydney for two years when the horror incident occurred.

On November 6, Zoe and Noel went parasailing to celebrate their one year anniversary.

 “I’ll never forget that date due to it being our anniversary and because it changed our lives forever,” Zoe told Independent.ie.

“I wanted to book a fun activity for us; little did I know we both could have died.”

“That morning we thought it might have been cancelled because we had received a message from the parasailing company to say due to winds they cancelled the first two morning trips out because the winds where too strong but our session was at 12 and they took us out.

“I was a little nervous because the water seemed rough and the boat was swaying side-to-side. I trusted our instructor would keep us safe.”

Zoe said they were in the air for less than two minutes when a gust of wind snapped the rope that was attaching them to the boat.

“The parasail lost control and our heads collided. The last thing I remember before the impact was Noel telling me to get ready to hit the water.”

Zoe said she remembers going in and out of consciousness as they hit the water.

“I remember having ropes from the parasail wrapped around our legs and neck. I saw his face which was covered in blood and screamed ‘your face!’ at which point he said to me ‘don't worry about my face, your face!’

 “I couldn’t do or say anything with the blood streaming down our faces.”

When they hit the water, Zoe was unconscious and Noel had to keep her up in the water.

“Noel had suffered a fractured shoulder and wrist so for him to keep me above water for so long in pain and shock was amazing but any longer I hate to think what might have happened.”

A professional diving team happened to be in the area at the time and helped take the pair to safety.

They were taken to Vicente hospital where they were treated for many serious injuries.

“The outcome of my injuries is a titanium plate in my head and over 37 stitches on my face. I'm 20 years of age and it's never easy to find out your going to have scars on your face but scars that need over 37 stitches to heal.

“Noel had nine stitches over his left eye along with fractured shoulder and wrist. He remembers every second of that day from when the rope snapping, hitting the water and the blood covering all around us and what felt like for him a life time before any one managed to come to our need.”

Zoe said she wants to find out what happened to make the rope snap as the couple could have died as a result.

“These things don’t just happen.”

Noel and Zoe have been living in Australia for over two years and plan on staying in the country.

“We love living out here and our life is out here but since the accident I won't be able to work for quite some time.”

Zoe praised her mum Mary O’Dwyer Kelly and Noel’s mum Rose Mary for dropping everything and flying over to Australia to be by their beds.

“We find out as the days go on just how much the accident has affected our lives.”