Thursday 17 October 2019

Irishman (36) drowns in freak accident while walking Camino route

Desperate efforts were made to revive the man by emergency services and a local doctor (stock photo)
Desperate efforts were made to revive the man by emergency services and a local doctor (stock photo)

Ralph Riegel and Pat Flynn

A young Irishman's dream of walking the famous Camino trek to Santiago de Compostela ended in tragedy as he drowned in a freak accident.

The man, who was named locally as Timothy Kelleher (36) from Ballyvourney on the Cork-Kerry border, died on Thursday evening despite desperate efforts to save him.

It is understood the man had just started a walking holiday on the French-Spanish border.

He was attempting to complete the Camino trek to Santiago de Compostela with a group of friends.


The Camino de Santiago, or the 'Way of St James', ranks as a Unesco world heritage route and is one of the world's most popular treks.

It runs from southern France, across the Pyrénées mountains to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

Precise details of the circumstances of the accident are still unknown. However, it appears that the young man went for a swim to relax having been walking in the sun all day.

He got into difficulty and was later found unresponsive in the water before being dragged ashore.

Desperate efforts were made to revive him by emergency services and a local doctor.

He was pronounced dead a short time later.

His body was then transferred to a local hospital pending a medical examination for the local coroner.

Guardia Civil officers were treating the death as a tragic accident.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said they were aware of the incident and were offering all consular supports to the family involved.

Heartbroken family members were preparing to travel to Spain last night to complete formal identification procedures.

It is expected to be several days before the remains of Mr Kelleher can be repatriated back to Ireland.

In a separate incident, a 24-year-old woman died after being rescued from a river in Co Clare last night.

A major search was launched after the alarm was raised at around 5.15pm when gardaí and the Irish Coast Guard received a report of a person in the River Fergus in the Cloughleigh area of Ennis.

Two units of Clare County Fire and Rescue Service from Ennis station, including specially-trained swift water rescue technicians, were sent to the scene along with ambulance paramedics and gardaí.

The Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard, Rescue 115, was also tasked and reached the scene soon after the other emergency services.

Members of Clare Civil Defence were also sent to assist in the search operation which was concentrated in the areas of the Mill Road bridge and Maid of Erin.

The woman was brought ashore on a fire service raft, and brought to University Hospital Limerick for treatment, but subsequently died.

Irish Independent

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