Monday 26 September 2016

Buncrana mother tells of terrible premonition

Angela Rainey

Published 28/03/2016 | 02:30

An emotional Louise James at the vigil in Buncrana. Photo: North West Newspix
An emotional Louise James at the vigil in Buncrana. Photo: North West Newspix

The mother who lost five members of her family in the Buncrana pier tragedy has said a premonition told her that something was terribly wrong before police confirmed that her family had drowned.

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Louise James said she "just knew" something awful had happened and was overcome with "a feeling of dread" moments after speaking to her son Evan (8).

In the call, he told her that he wanted to give her "a tight squeezy hug" and said she was "the best mammy in the world".

But only minutes later, when she rang back and none of the calls connected, she knew that something was seriously wrong.

Five members of her family had drowned and the only survivor was four-month-old daughter Rionaghac-Ann, whose father had passed her through the window to rescuer Davitt Walsh (28).

"I was only talking to them on the phone five minutes before the accident. Evan came on," Ms James said. "He said, 'When are you coming home?' I said, 'I'll be home. Have a bath, you've school in the morning. I'll be home don't worry.'

"Then he said, 'I'm going to give you a tight squeezy hug.'"

Ms James said she had a premonition that something had befallen her family early that evening, before the dreadful news was confirmed.

She told a Sunday newspaper: "I just knew, something was wrong.

"I rang them back but their phones were off."

Last week, Louise met Davitt Walsh (28), who risked his own life to save her daughter.

The former footballer is still distraught after witnessing the horror at first hand.

In their emotional meeting, Ms James comforted Mr Walsh, telling him: "Don't blame yourself that you did not do more - we are so grateful for what you did. It could easily have been seven deaths, not five."

Irish Independent

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