Doctor drowned trying to protect granddaughter
A MAN died when he fell into the Avoca River while trying to protect his young granddaughter, an inquest has heard.
Dr Julian Hart (73), pictured, from Saval Park Road in Dalkey, Co Dublin, fell into the river as he reached out to bring the child to safety at the Meeting of the Waters in Co Wicklow on August 4 last year.
Dublin Coroner's Court heard that Dr Hart, who was a statistician and retired Trinity lecturer, had been visiting the spot with his daughter Eileen Hart and her children, Finn (6), Eanna (5) and Lara (2). It had rained the previous week and the river was running high.
Ms Hart said the three children wandered down near the edge of a viewing platform on the riverbank. She followed with her father, who could not swim.
"We talked about being careful about the danger of the river. I was getting a little nervous of where Lara was standing. Obviously, Dad was aware of where she was too. He went to take hold of her. He slipped and fell into the water," she said.
Initially, she thought she could pull him from the water and went into the river after him.
She was able to grab hold of his collar but the current was already taking them away. She grabbed on to a tree branch on the river bank but was unable to stop her father from going under the water.
Dr Hart's body was recovered further on down the river at Woodenbridge. He was taken to Tallaght Hospital where he was pronounced dead.