Monday 26 January 2015

RTE musician dies in bid to save drowning partner

Brian Byrne

Published 01/09/2014 | 02:30

AN RTE staff member drowned while trying to save his partner, who also lost his life off the coast of the Greek island of Crete.

John Lynch (45), associate principal violist with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, died last Friday at Mavros Molos beach.

RTE musician John Lynch, who drowned in Crete
RTE musician John Lynch, who drowned in Crete

The beach is in the town of Kissamos in the western part of the island.

Mr Lynch, who is originally from Nunawading in Melbourne, Australia, but has lived in Dublin for many years, died alongside his partner Kevin Devine (46).

Kevin Devine, who drowned in Crete
Kevin Devine, who drowned in Crete

Mr Devine was a civil servant in the Department of Health. He was a native of Drogheda, Co Louth, but lived in Dublin for several years.

It's understood Mr Devine got in to difficulty while swimming at around 5.40pm, and Mr Lynch tried to save him.

However, he was unable to pull Mr Devine from the water, and both men drowned.

It is believed swimmers saw their bodies floating in the sea and notified emergency services.

The men's remains were taken to Chania General Hospital.

Beloved

In a statement released last night, the family of Mr Devine said: "Kevin was the second eldest of our children and beloved by his brothers and sister.

"He loved travel, music and discovering new bands. He will be missed by his family, friends and colleagues in the Department of Health.

"We are being assisted by the authorities in Greece and the Department of Foreign Affairs and deeply appreciate their support at this difficult time."

A spokesperson from the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed it was offering consular assistance to the men's families.

Mr Lynch, who also taught at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, had an Irish passport and his father came from Co Donegal.

A spokeswoman for Kissamos Port Authority said: "It happened before 6pm on Friday. I don't know which man was in the water, but he asked for help, and the other approached him, and then they had the accident."

She added: "At 6pm the ambulance arrived and took them from the beach, and then they went to the general hospital in Chania."

Mr Lynch gave the Irish premiere of the Sonata for Ukrainian composer Valeri Kikta at the opening concert of the 2005 World Harp Congress.

Irish Independent

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