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Wednesday 7 December 2016

'A family somewhere is about to get the most awful news' - Locals in shock after Buncrana pier tragedy

'Buncrana is in mourning again' - councillor says as sixth anniversary of country's worst-ever road crash approaches

Greg Harkin

Published 21/03/2016 | 06:43

An ambulance and a fire engine at the scene of the tragedy Photo: Justin MacLochlainn
An ambulance and a fire engine at the scene of the tragedy Photo: Justin MacLochlainn

A local community have reacted in shock to a tragedy which saw two adults and three children lose their lives last night.

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The deaths occurred when a car plunged into the sea off a pier at Buncrana at approximately 7.15pm.

A two-month-old infant was rescued by two local men and rushed to hospital after the car entered the sea.

A local councillor reacted to the tragedy by saying: "A family somewhere is about to get the most awful news." 

Emergency services on the pier Photo: North West Newspix
Emergency services on the pier Photo: North West Newspix

"Once again, Inishowen has been hit with a terrible, terrible tragedy," said local councillor Jack Murray, who was at the scene.

"We knew that something awful had happened when we saw all the emergency services and lifeboat volunteers at the pier but we weren't prepared for the full horror of it.

"Buncrana is in mourning again. It's like the Inishowen car crash all over again.

"We believe those who died were not from here and may have been visiting and enjoying a lovely sunny Sunday and then this dreadful incident happened.

"A family somewhere is about to get the most awful news. We'll pray the young child survives," he added.

Speaking to Newstalk's Breakfast this morning, Cllr Murray said the town is "trying to come to terms with the tragedy".

"It's hard to believe, people are just devastated," he said,.

"The town was packed, it was such a beautiful day. The news came fairly soon that something significant had happened."

Cllr Murray said he was sitting in his house when emergency vehicles began passing as they drove towards the pier.

"Emergency vehicles started passing and we realised something bad had happened.

"The phone started jumping and text messages started coming in.

"We then saw the helicopter land and people knew something bad had happened," he continued.

"People gathered and then we realised five people had lost their lives."

Gardai are set to begin a full investigation into the tragedy at dawn today, however it is believed the car may have accidentally slipped into the water.

Post mortems on the bodies of the couple and the three children are expected to be carried out today.

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