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Wednesday 21 August 2019

Buncrana tragedy: Inquest into deaths of family after car plunged off pier begins today

Victims of the Buncrana pier tragedy; Sean McGrotty (49), the couple's sons Evan (8) and Mark (12), Jodie Lee Daniels (14) and Ruth Daniels (57). Baby Rioghnach survived the tragedy. Louise James (top right) was the only member of the family who did not travel with them from their Derry home.
Victims of the Buncrana pier tragedy; Sean McGrotty (49), the couple's sons Evan (8) and Mark (12), Jodie Lee Daniels (14) and Ruth Daniels (57). Baby Rioghnach survived the tragedy. Louise James (top right) was the only member of the family who did not travel with them from their Derry home.

Michael McHugh

An inquest into the deaths of five members of a family whose car plunged off a pier in Ireland begins later.

Evan McGrotty, aged eight, died alongside his 12-year-old brother Mark, his father Sean, 46, grandmother Ruth Daniels, 57, and her 14-year-old daughter, Jodie Lee Daniels, when their SUV sank after sliding off a slipway in Buncrana, Co Donegal, in March 2016.

Sean McGrotty, top, with his partner Louise, four-month-old Rionaghac-Ann, and sons Mark (11), right, and Evan (8)
Sean McGrotty, top, with his partner Louise, four-month-old Rionaghac-Ann, and sons Mark (11), right, and Evan (8)

It is understood the vehicle lost grip on a thick blanket of algae coating the structure and slid into the waters of Lough Swilly.

The inquest will be held at a hotel in the town.

Sean McGrotty
Sean McGrotty

The only survivor was a baby girl. The child's mother, Louise James, has said the infant was her only reason to go on living.

Former footballer Davitt Walsh swam out into the harbour in an effort to save the six occupants of the Audi Q7.

March 24, 2016: A devastated Louise James carries the coffin of one of her sons at the church in Derry as mourners attended the Buncrana pier tragedy funeral. Louise James lost her long-term partner Sean McGrotty, her mother Ruth Daniels, her sister Jodi-Lee (15) and their children, Mark (12), Evan (8) in the incident. Baby Rioghnach-Ann was saved by a heroic passery-by. (Brian Lawless/PA Wire)
March 24, 2016: A devastated Louise James carries the coffin of one of her sons at the church in Derry as mourners attended the Buncrana pier tragedy funeral. Louise James lost her long-term partner Sean McGrotty, her mother Ruth Daniels, her sister Jodi-Lee (15) and their children, Mark (12), Evan (8) in the incident. Baby Rioghnach-Ann was saved by a heroic passery-by. (Brian Lawless/PA Wire)

Sean McGrotty handed his four-month-old baby daughter Rionaghac-Ann to Mr Walsh through the broken driver's side window just moments before the vehicle sank.

Mr Walsh has been awarded a gold medal for bravery at sea.

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