ARLINGTON, Va. — It’s an incredible story of timing and being in the right place at the right time.
In this case- that place happened to be halfway around the world at a beach in Ireland.
That’s where four local men traveled to, just in time to save a six-year-old girl from drowning.
Walter Butler said he and his brothers, Declan and Eoghan Butler, as well as his brother-in-law, Alex Thomson went to Postnarmack Beach near Dublin for a day of relaxation.
Walter Butler said they heard screams within minutes of getting there.
“We could hear her screaming, shouting as well, on the floatie. It was definitely a scream of terror—as the wind, and I assume the current, was taking her out to sea.”
The six-year-old girl had gotten separated from her father -- neither of them could swim. Butler said he and his brothers didn’t have time to think or work out a plan. They jumped in the water to help.
Fortunately, all of the brothers were experienced swimmers; able to take on what would amount to a mile ocean swim in rough waters. The brothers swam more than 20 minutes before they were able to get to the girl and bring her to safety.
Walter Butler said he stayed near the shore, realizing he could keep his energy in case the girl needed CPR. Just weeks before: Butler had completed life-saving training with the Coast Guard. He swam out to relieve his brothers and bring the girl to shore. He says she was cold but conscious when they touched dry land.
“I truly believe each individual there played a key role in the entire rescue- so it’s amazing we got to save a little girl,” Butler said.
Butler’s mom, Meagan Cummings was home in Arlington when she got a text message that her sons were heroes.
Cummings said the boys grew up to be such good swimmers- in part because of the tragic death of the brothers’ great uncle when he was a 11 years old.
Ironically, the anniversary of that death fell on the same day as Monday’s rescue. “64 years ago is the anniversary of his drowning.. it was the same anniversary as the kids saved the little girl—it was just... wild” said Cummings.
Now, six-year-old Sienna will get to see her 7th birthday in a matter of days: on Aug. 2nd.
“I don’t think it really hit us until the next day, when we got to see the little girl, and see her with her family; kissing her mom and hugging her dad. That’s probably the most rewarding part of it," said Butler.