| 11.4°C Dublin

'Delighted' Stranded Carlow student Racheal Diyaolu finally on way home after reaching EU border

The 19-year-old said she is “delighted” at the prospect of getting home on Thursday but the experience in Ukraine has taken a toll on her

Close

Racheal Diyaolu

Racheal Diyaolu

Racheal Diyaolu

Carlow student Racheal Diyaolu has finally reached a European border after days of travelling across war-torn Ukraine.

The 19-year-old said she is “delighted” at the prospect of getting home on Thursday but the experience has taken a toll on her.

“It’s been a very long journey, but the end is finally in sight. We’ve been on the road since around 7.15 on Monday, so it’s been like a three-day long trek,” she said.

“I’m kind of numb to the whole experience. I know I’m going home tomorrow most likely, but it doesn’t feel like it, but I’m delighted, and I can’t wait to see my family and friends and finally get to be back in Ireland.”

The medical student was rescued on Monday along with her Nigerian friends Roycee Iloielunachi and Anolajuwon Solarin, by two Scottish gardeners who drove them out of the city.

The students had been trapped in the university city Sumy, which has been heavily bombarded by Russian forces recently.

Joe McCarthy (55) and Gary Taylor (45), who run Ready2Rock landscaping in Falkirk, volunteered to get the students out of Sumy and have been posting video updates on their TikTok page.

Ms Diyaolu said the two men have been through “hell and high water” but refused to give up on their mission.

“They’re just like your average guys, just regular guys who want to help people. They have been through hell and high water yet they’re still adamant on helping other people, it’s honestly amazing,” she said.

As well as rescuing Ms Diyaolu and her two friends, Mr McCarthy and Mr Taylor rescued a mother and her son and an elderly couple.

“Basically, on Saturday night I got an email from someone and she was like I’ve heard of these two men who are coming to your region, and they might be able to help you out, they said they might have space for you,” Ms Diyaolu said.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

“And I was telling my sister about it, and she was like oh yeah that loads of people had been telling her about it as well.

“So, I reached out to them, and they offered their help and said they had space for others to join and that they’d been trying their best to get to Sumy to help rescue a mother and son and that while they were there, they would help rescue us as well," she told the Ray D’Arcy Show on RTÉ.

Close

Racheal Diyaolu and her two friends Roycee Iloelunachi and Anolajuwon Folarin, who are attempting to flee Ukraine.

Racheal Diyaolu and her two friends Roycee Iloelunachi and Anolajuwon Folarin, who are attempting to flee Ukraine.

Racheal Diyaolu and her two friends Roycee Iloelunachi and Anolajuwon Folarin, who are attempting to flee Ukraine.

 

She said the group walked the remainder of the distance to the border on foot as it was quicker than going by car.

“I’m on the Ukrainian side but we’re very close to crossing over, we’re on foot. The men could only bring us so far because going through via the van or the car would take a lot longer than walking,” she said.

On Wednesday afternoon Ms Diyaolu’s sister Christiana issued an update online that her sister had made it to the border.

She said: “THEY’VE MADE IT TO AN EU BORDER! I could shout it from the hills!" 

“They have made it to the border and are making their way through now. I’ve been told not to reveal their exact location yet, until they get to safety. Next step Ireland.”

Close

Racheal Diyaolu with Joe McCarthy and Gary Taylor

Racheal Diyaolu with Joe McCarthy and Gary Taylor

Racheal Diyaolu with Joe McCarthy and Gary Taylor

 

The group encountered many obstacles along the way and were still stuck in Ukraine on Tuesday night.

The convoy carrying Ms Diyaolu’s group was slowed down by a number of Russian and Ukrainian checkpoints.

Posting on their TikTok account, Mr McCarthy said the Ukrainian police assisted them by giving them a letter, which allowed them to pass through checkpoints safely.

Ms Diyaolu said the letter was very helpful throughout their journey from Sumy.
 

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Top Videos





Available now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Privacy