Floods horror: Drowned nurse screamed for help for 10 minutes
Published 26/10/2011 | 05:00
A HOSPICE worker desperately screamed for help for 10 minutes as flood water engulfed her basement flat.
Neighbours have described the final horrific moments of the Filipino-born Irish citizen Cecilia De Jesus, who became the second victim of the flooding that engulfed parts of the country on Monday night.
She died just hours after off-duty Garda Ciaran Jones was swept away while attempting to divert traffic away from a dangerous bridge in Co Wicklow.
The mother of one, who was in her 50s, had only recently moved into the basement flat on Parnell Road, Harold's Cross, Dublin, in anticipation of her husband's arrival from the Philippines.
He had been due to join her in December but instead was last night dealing with the shock of the freak accident that claimed his wife's life.
Flood waters engulfed the row of terraced Georgian houses around 11pm on Monday night, after the River Poddle burst its banks.
According to witnesses, water quickly made its way down an incline from Harold's Cross through a series of houses and streets before hitting Parnell Road.
"I was woken up by the sound of water pouring. There's a wall behind our buildings which collapsed and that rush of water came up to the houses," a neighbour, Dave Cullen, said.
Around the same time, the Grand Canal in front of the terrace also burst its banks.
"By the time I got to the front door, the water was up to my waist, the car, which I had left in front of my house, was covered, you couldn't see it anymore," Mr Cullen added.
A woman living above Mrs De Jesus's basement flat had been awoken by the sound of screaming.
"Help me, help me, help me, for maybe 10 minutes she was crying," a still traumatised Larisa Vingre told the Irish Independent.
A group of Pakistani men who live in the top floor of the house and firemen who arrived soon after, made desperate attempts to get into the basement, which by this stage was almost completely submerged.
Rescuers even tried to smash to smash a hole in the ceiling of the flat but were unable to help Mrs De Jesus.
It wasn't until the basement was pumped out yesterday that rescuers were able to retrieve her remains.
Friends have described the mother of one as a warm and jolly woman.
"She was a very nice person, she was helping her family. She had really good friends in Harold's Cross and was a loving and caring person," Rebecca Gasataya who worked with the victim in the mortology unit of Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross said.
"Her husband used to work here but went home to the Philippines after he lost his job as a carer."
Mr De Jesus had been due to move back to Ireland from the Philippines.
Last night the couple's student nurse son Michael Kevin De Jesus posted "Mamma, I miss you" on his mother's Facebook page.