A holidaymaker from Slane was the hero of the hour in a dramatic sea rescue in Northern Ireland yesterday,

Stephen Goodwin, was on a beach near Belfast during a family holiday when he spotted a child with special needs struggling in the water.

Goodwin told Meath Live, ‘I noticed him earlier and it was quite obvious he had special needs, I just spotted him out a bit too far and struggling to keep his head up so I made a beeline for him and as I was making my way out he had taken more steps out which had brought him out far enough that my feet were not touching the bottom when I got to him.

‘All I could see was the crown of his head and an arm, so I just scooped him up and swam back in and as I lifted him to the shore his dad arrived and thanked me.

‘The poor lad was non verbal and couldn’t call for help and to be fair to his parents they were watching him but at the crucial moment, a group of kids began playing right in their line of vision so they couldn’t have seen what happened.

‘The chap, who was eight or nine and big for his age was caught out as despite being only maybe four metres from shore there was an 8-10 foot drop which you wouldn’t expect.

‘When I swam in with him his dad thanked me but they all left almost immediately and I had no chance to even get his name.

‘There were four lifeguards on duty but they didn’t seem to spot him, anyway I guess in situations like that when the beach is so packed we should all be lifeguards.’