Thursday 17 August 2017

Buncrana tragedy: Couple and three children die after jeep plunged into sea off pier

Buncrana pier at scene of rescue Credit: Justin MacLochlainn
Buncrana pier at scene of rescue Credit: Justin MacLochlainn

Greg Harkin

A couple and three children have died after their jeep plunged into the sea off a pier in Co Donegal this evening.

A fourth child is in a critical condition at Letterkenny University Hospital after the tragedy in Buncrana.

The young survivor is believed to be baby of about two to three months.

The family involved - driving a Northern-registered jeep - had been parked on the pier at the end of a sunny day in the popular seaside town when the incident happened at 7.15pm.

Read more: Devastated brother says tragic father 'idolised' his family

All five people died at the scene.

The Coast Guard 118 Rescue helicopter, RNLI lifeboat crews from Lough Swilly and Greencastle, ambulance crews and gardaí all took part in the search and rescue operation.

Emergency services are continuing to search the shoreline as part of a follow-up investigation.

Gardaí are investigating the possibility that the jeep may have gone off the pier after it was being turned to leave just after sunset.

The three children who died are believed to be of national school age.

Read more: 'It was harrowing. To have a family, so many people, gone like that over a very simple thing'

The bodies of the couple and the three children have been taken to Letterkenny hospital where a post mortem is expected to be carried out on Monday.

"Buncrana is a town in mourning," said one local man at the scene tonight.

"It appears this family were visiting the area and a beautiful sunny March day has ended in absolute tragedy."

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