Saturday 20 January 2018

Soaring temperatures trigger string of drownings

MAEVE SHEEHAN

The Irish Coast Guard has issued an urgent warning after soaring temperatures sparked an unprecedented series of drowning tragedies.

Five people have lost their lives since the heatwave caused youngsters to take to sea, lakes, rivers and reservoirs in their droves.

Joseph Killeen, 17, became the fifth drowning victim in three days after he got into difficulties swimming at a canal in Ardnacrusha, Co Clare, on Friday.

At midnight on Thursday, the body of Daniel Harding was recovered from a lake near Strokestown, Co Roscommon.

The 19-year-old, who is from Elphin, went swimming with friends at Drinaun Lake at around 8pm on Friday, the day before he was due to travel with his father to England to start a new life.

The others who drowned last week were Lisa Knight, 21, who was with a group of friends swimming in the River Feale in Co Limerick when she became separated from them. Following a search, she was taken, unconscious, from the water but all efforts to revive her failed.

Adayomi Adefadi, 16, from Kildare, was a member of a team playing the Celbridge Community Cup and was due to play in the semi-final last night. Because he was Muslim, many of his friends could not attend the funeral and last night's game at Ballyulster, Celbridge, was their tribute to him.

Kyle Roche, 10, was swept into the sea by treacherous currents last Thursday,

Declan Geoghegan of the Irish Coast Guard, said: "Very, very quickly you can get into difficulty before you know where you are."

He said it was especially hazardous for children who are unsupervised or that are using inflatables of any description.

"It's extremely dangerous and, of course, for all people involved in water sports and using water craft we would recommend PFDs (personal floatation devices) – they're quite cheap but they're vital in terms of safety and they will save your life."

Irish Water Safety chief executive John Leech last week urged parents to ensure that their children do not go swimming unsupervised.

Mr Leech said people should swim in designated swimming areas with life guards or in well-known swimming areas. He said people are also going swimming in areas that are unusual and unfamiliar, and that are neither designated nor well-known swimming spots.

The ESB said that swimming is not permitted in any of the ESB reservoirs.

Irish Independent

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