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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

‘You wouldn’t be long getting frostbit’ is now Ireland’s Forrest Gump


by Holly O'Neill
25th Aug 2021

Read time: 3 minutes

Ruairi McSorley at the beach where he went swimming

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You wouldn’t be long getting hypothermia.

Ruairí McSorley, aka the viral Frostbit Boy, has braved the elements again, and once more inadvertently made headlines for being rescued 4km from the shore “surrounded by a pod of dolphins,” 12 hours after being reported missing.

Much to unpack here. 

Ruairí McSorley, age 24 and from Park in Co Derry, was first reported missing at 8am on Sunday after a walker found his clothes and shoes on a beach near Inch. Fenit RNLI crew members found him alone, far out at sea at 8.15pm, “surrounded by a pod of dolphins.”

Mama says stupid is as stupid does.

Six years after going viral for telling UTV during the snow that “you wouldn’t be long getting frostbit,” Ruairí is now bearded, once again accidentally making headlines, phased by nothing, lost at sea, and repeatedly proving himself to be an extraordinary man – sort of making him an Irish hybrid of Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump and Castaway. We, as a nation, are Ruairí’s Lieutenant Dan, and the universe keeps bringing us back together. Ruairí and us was like peas and carrots.

Ruairí who had been working as an entertainer on cruise ships  – chef’s kiss – when the pandemic struck, had been living in the Seaside caravan park near Inch beach, in Co Kerry, when he chose to go for a swim. Now released from University Hospital Kerry in Tralee, Ruairí said, “I saw Fenit lighthouse out in the water, and I said right, I am going towards it. I wouldn’t have gotten in to start with if I didn’t know I was going to be grand.”

Ruairí, who when found was dangerously hypothermic and wouldn’t have been long from getting frostbit, told the Irish Independent that he is “100 percent after the incident, “other than a bit of pain at the back of my knee. There is no long-term damage. The only thing was my kidneys needed to readjust. So there has been no serious harm. It was only a matter of going into the hospital to heat up a bit. Other than that, I was fine.”

There was only one moment in the water where he was worried (not when he lost his football Wilson). “I saw these black tails in the water, and I wasn’t sure were they dolphins or sharks. I just thought to myself maybe it wouldn’t have been the worst idea to have googled this before I jumped in. But they were just dolphins. They wouldn’t have done any harm to you; I’d no problem with them. They were just swimming around me. If anything, they may have helped me.”

Ruairí was cracking jokes with the RNLI crew when rescued, saying, “Apparently, the first thing I said to them was ‘I’ll not have to pay for this, will I?'” 

With Forrest Gump levels of perception and wisdom, Ruairí says, “Was I frightened? Fear is all in the mind.”

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