A MAN drowned and his former partner escaped injury when their car plunged off a harbour in to sub-zero temperature waters.
The body of the man, a Hungarian in his mid 30s, was washed up on a beach almost three miles south of where the accident happened at Arklow, Co Wicklow.
The woman, who is Polish and in her mid 20s, swam to safety after the car smashed through metal railings on the south pier at about 6am.
She was found on the quayside and taken to Loughlinstown Hospital for treatment.
A senior Garda said it appeared the woman was driving the car.
"She was driving the car and her partner, or ex-partner, was in the passenger seat," he said.
"Somehow she got out of the car and he didn't."
Garda said it is understood the pair may have had an argument and were with each other throughout the night before the accident happened.
The pair are believed to have worked in a spa hotel in the area, which declined to comment on the tragedy.
No arrests are expected to be made in the immediate future, officers added.
More than 100 onlookers stood in the bitter cold and snow showers as the recovery of the car took place.
Arklow RNLI located the vehicle using an echo sounder and secured it in place as searches of the Avoca river continued, but the weather conditions and sea swell forced Garda divers to abandon an underwater search.
As the gold coloured Volkswagen Passat was lifted by a crane on to the pier side a body, believed to be the Hungarian man, was washed up on the beach at Clogga, some 2.5km away.
It is understood no one saw the car smash through a barrier and enter the water.
The RNLI said it is believed the woman escaped from the car herself and raised the alarm as no one had claimed to have rescued her.
"It appears she got out herself because nobody has been able to say they got her out," a spokeswoman added.