The Liffey Descent Canoe Race is an annual canoe and kayak race for 18 miles along Ireland’s River Liffey.
The race can be frantic at times, with paddlers facing turbulent waters and several descents over weirs. When the 55th annual race was held in late September, a two-man kayak became pinned by a powerful current against a stone bridge abutment.
Luckily, Boy Scouts were on the bridge to provide rescue support during the race, and their actions made for a swift but dramatic rescue captured on camera. Scout leader Ronan Fields quickly released the two kayakers caught between Leixlip Bridge and their damaged boat.
Fields explained that Scouts’ training prepares them for these life-and-death situations.
“Firstly, it's all about getting to them as quickly as possible and keeping their heads above the water line,” he told The Independent newspaper. "I know what needs to be done, and so does the rest of the team. We practice at meetings, so when we need to act we can do so as a smooth, efficient team.”
The paddlers were not injured, and Fields is now a local hero.