Monday 25 September 2017

Drowning tragedy: Mother-of-two fell into water after checking boat was secured to jetty

  • Family of four from Convoy, Donegal on Easter holiday
  • Husband jumped into water after hearing splash
  • Children were asleep in the boat at the time
  • Husband is being treated for shock
The incident happened at Devenish Island, near Enniskillen
The incident happened at Devenish Island, near Enniskillen
Lough Erne

Cathal McMahon and Jonny Bell

The husband of a woman who died in Lough Erne tried desperately to pull her from the water while their two young children slept in their holiday boat.

The incident happened at Devenish Island, near Enniskillen, at around 1.20am on Thursday.

Independent.ie has learned that the couple, who live in Convoy, Co Donegal were on an Easter holiday with their two young children.

The mum of two had gone out to check the ropes to make sure the boat was secured to the jetty before going to bed.

Her husband - alerted by the splash of his wife going in the water - dived in to try and rescue her. He could not find her in the dark and got out to raise the alarm.

The woman was located by rescue workers just metres from the back of the boat. CPR was performed on the woman at the dockside and on route to the hospital where she died.

Their two children, aged 11 and 13, were asleep at the time of the tragedy. The family are from Convoy, Co Donegal and they had been holidaying in Lough Erne for Easter.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is investigating the incident which is believed to be an accident.

Chief Inspector Clive Beattie told RTÉ's Radio One that the woman's husband is still in a state of shock at this stage.

During the 999 call her husband "told us that his wife and his children aged 13 and 11 were up on holidays from Donegal for the weekend and they were moored for the night at a very popular tourist attraction in a hired cruiser when his wife went to check on the ropes securing the boat," Mr Beattie said.

A multi-agency response was launched immediately and a major search operation got underway. 

However around 40 minutes after the 999 call the woman's body was recovered from the scene.

"He is very, very shocked. He is still in a state of shock as we speak and he is being looked after by medical professionals and by his wider family circle," the police officer added.

"They were up on holidays to enjoy the beautiful waterways of Fermanagh but unfortunately it turned into a very tragic event."

Mr Beattie expressed his heartfelt condolences to the woman's family and thanked all emergency services who attended the scene.

There were "valiant efforts" at the scene to resuscitate the young mum before she was rushed to hospital.

"It's a very terrible accident indeed," he said as he appealed for all waterway users to wear a life jacket at all times.

Sinn Féin Councillor Liam Doherty said there was shock in the town of Convoy, where the family had been living.

"My sympathies go to the family at this tragic time," he told Independent.ie.

MP for the area Tom Elliott said it was a tragedy, adding: "This is just deeply sad, again we have another family in bereavement and my thoughts and prayers go out to them and their community.

"Lough Erne is a dangerous place and I would call on people to be careful on the water."

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA, Arlene Foster said: "This is heartbreaking news for the area. I want to extend my sympathy, thoughts and prayers to the friends and family of this young woman. The death of a young life will come as an immense shock to this area and in particular the woman's family.

"Lough Erne and Devenish Island is often pictured as a scene of beauty but today it is the scene of such tragic circumstances. I wish to thank the emergency services and the RNLI who attended the scene. As we enter into the holiday period, I would urge everyone to exercise caution while on the water."

Fermanagh and Omagh DUP Cllr Keith Elliott, added: "This is a devastating incident for the family and all connected with Lough Erne. I want to praise the RNLI and the emergency services for their brave actions at the scene.

"The pain of this tragic death will be felt right around the county and my thoughts and prayers go out to the young woman's family at this time."

Last month  the bodies of Frank Dunne (39), from Malahide, Co Dublin, and his wife Alexandra Malkin Dunne (34), originally from the UK, were recovered from the River Shannon near Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.

Alexandra Malkin_Dunne _ T (SUN_ED3_S01) (Read-Only).png
Tragedy: The bodies of holidaying married couple Alexandra and Frank Dunne were recovered near the marina at Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim

The couple, who were married for a number of years lived in Munich, and were a few days into a holiday in the area when tragedy struck.

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