| 9.6°C Dublin

Irishman on working holiday drowns in riptide at Perth beach

A 28-year-old Irishman who was on a working holiday with his brother in Australia drowned yesterday following a freak accident.

Martin Costigan, from Templetuohy, Co Tipperary, was in the sea with his brother and friends at lunchtime yesterday at Scarborough beach near Perth when a freak wave swept him away.

Mr Costigan, who was a non-swimmer, was from a large farming family of eight children and played hurley and gaelic for his local club, Moyne Templetuohy.

His body was later recovered from the bottom of the ocean near the Perth coastline.

One local said yesterday: "You couldn't say enough nice things about him and the family he is from. There will be a massive funeral as they are hugely respected."

Mr Costigan had been in Australia only a couple of months and returned home at Christmas to visit family and friends. It is understood one of Mr Costigan's brothers, who lives in New York, is flying out to Perth today.

Mr Costigan's father, Connie Costigan, is chairman of the local co-op and is former chairman of the Moyne-Templetuohy GAA club

It is understood Mr Costigan had gone for a swim with three friends in what was a 'no swimming' zone about 100 metres outside a safe bathing area which was marked by flags.

"It was a tragic accident," Inspector Sharon Lennon from Western Australian Police told the Irish Independent yesterday.

"He was with his brother and his friends in one of the suburbs in Perth. Temperatures here are hitting 40C at the moment. They went in to cool off and he got caught in a 'rip' and all of a suddenly the waves got a bit bigger.

"They all tried to make their way back in to the shore but unfortunately this man was hit by a massive wave and he never made it back to shore."

Irish Independent