By John Ensor •
Updated: 30 Aug 2023 • 10:20
A Chavasqueira hot springs, Ourense.
Thanks to the bravery and quick thinking of one elderly man from Galicia, the life of a young man was saved.
On August 23, in Ourense, Galicia a relaxing afternoon became the backdrop for a remarkable act of bravery by Juan Blanco, a 70-year-old local man. He rescued a 20-year-old Irish tourist who was drowning in the Miño River, near the popular A Chavasqueira hot springs, writes 20 Minutos.
Juan, originally from Ourense but a resident of Switzerland for the past 40 years, was enjoying a day at the A Chavasqueira hot springs.
The A Chavasqueira facility is fed by a mineral-medicinal thermal spring that has been used since ancient times in Ourense. The bathing area where the water is around 40 degrees Celsius, are located in a large garden area on the banks of the Miño. Despite the river’s generally low flow through the city, it has been known to catch swimmers off guard.
The young Irishman was swimming about 50 metres from the thermal area when he found himself in trouble. His father, unable to swim, could only watch helplessly from the shore.
Around 3:00 pm, the young man began to shout for help. While the exact cause remains unclear, it’s likely that fatigue or a cramp hindered his ability to return to shore.
Bystanders heard the young man’s cries, but none took action. Juan, a frequent visitor to the A Chavasqueira pools, didn’t hesitate. He jumped into the water and saved the drowning tourist. ‘No one helped me to help him, people just watched,’ Juan told local media.
By the time emergency services, Civil Protection, and Local Police arrived, the young man was already safe and out of the water. Although a bit disoriented, he was otherwise unharmed. He was subsequently taken to the Ourense University Hospital Complex (CHUO) for further tests.
Had it not been for Juan’s quick thinking and bravery, the story could have had a tragic ending.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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