Teen saved brother from drowning in disused septic tank

Emily Duggan (13) with her brother Justin (10)
Emily Duggan (13) with her brother Justin (10)

An Irish teenager has been recognised for saving the life of her younger brother who was moments away from drowning in a disused septic tank.

Emily Duggan (13) was honoured at the Irish Water Safety’s National Awards ceremony last night for the heroic measures she used to pull her brother Justin (10) to safety after an incident on the family farm in Durrow.

The Laois teenager, who was eight at the time, used a hurl to haul her younger brother out of an old septic tank he had fallen in to, unable to move his body to free himself.

The siblings’ mum Sonya Duggan said that Justin was lucky to have been in the hands of quick thinking Emily and said that her family was extremely lucky not to have been hit by tragedy that day.

“I just remember sitting in my mother-in-law's when I just heard this unmerciful scream. I knew there was something very wrong then.

“We have always been conscious of farm safety and have warned the children for years that they’re not to play up the farm or near the lake. But there just happened to be an old septic tank that hadn’t been used in years down the back of granny’s house in a wooded area, that nobody had thought of or even knew was there. The top had obviously corroded and running ahead of his brother and sister, Justin fell in and sunk down as far as his neck.”

The mum-of-four revealed that Emily quickly realised the danger her brother was in as he rapidly sunk deeper into the tank and used her older brother's hurl to pull him out before it was too late.

“The boys didn’t really know what to do, but Emily just grabbed her brother James’ hurl and managed to get Justin out. He couldn’t move his arms and legs in the tank, and was sinking and sinking so it was very lucky.

“Only for Emily he would have drowned,” she said.

The siblings accepted Emily’s award together last night but their mum admitted that there is often some teasing about the teenager’s brave effort.