Monday 20 November 2017

Boy (13) slipped and drowned trying to save friend after drinking session on riverbank

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Louise Roseingrave

A 13-year-old boy drowned after he fell into a river in a bid to rescue his friend after they had been drinking close to a riverbank.

Oisín Quigley, a second year student at Maynooth Post Primary, lost his footing and was swept away by the current on February 23, 2016.

Oisín was one of three second-year students who did not go to school that day, an inquest heard. The two boys and one girl brought blankets with them to a field next to the River Lyreen, just outside town.

One of the three brought two bottles of gin, which they mixed with an energy drink, the inquest heard. The three ate and talked and drank at a spot close by the river at Laraghbryan, Maynooth, Co Meath.

The 13-year-old girl did not recall the details of what happened next, but remembers the other two reaching for her to help her out of the river. "Oisín reached too far and fell in," she said. She said she was holding his hand but she couldn't hold on and he floated down the river. "Oisín looked so panicked, I remember him spinning around and the current taking him," she said.

The third teen said they were trying to rescue the girl from the banks. "Oisín lost his grip and slipped in. I brought (the girl) back to the bank and looked up and he wasn't there. I grabbed her phone to call an ambulance," he said.

Distressed

Dublin Coroner's Court heard that the initial emergency call was made at 3.36pm. The caller was described as distressed and intoxicated.

There was confusion initially as to the teens' exact location. Garda Garvan Kelleher was dispatched at 3.50pm and arrived at 3.55pm. Firefighters first pulled a girl who was clinging to the riverbank to safety and then began to search for Oisín in cold water up to five-and-a-half feet deep. He was spotted just under the surface around 50 metres from where he fell in, the court heard.

He was rushed to Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin, where he was critically unwell and did not respond to efforts to save his life.

The cause of death was drowning with an elevated blood alcohol level. A toxicology screening revealed a blood alcohol level of 235 milligrams per 100ml.

Returning a verdict of death by misadventure, Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said: "The very sad and tragic facts of this case speak for themselves. It serves to remind young people the risks attached to certain behaviour.

"It has been very difficult and affecting to hear this evidence, it's such a tragic event, an occurrence of seconds that deprived you of your son," Dr Cullinane told Oisín's father Eric Quigley.

Irish Independent

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