Teacher Fiona was 'strong but gentle', say friends shocked by Dubai bus crash death
A "strong but gentle" young schoolteacher has died in a bus crash in Dubai while her boyfriend, also from Ireland, was injured.
Fiona Geraghty (27), from Balbriggan, died in hospital in the early hours of yesterday after the crash that claimed the lives of 17 people.
Ms Geraghty, a much-loved teacher from St Molaga's Senior National School, had been taking a year-long career break in Dubai.
The Oman-registered bus was carrying 31 passengers on Thursday when the crash happened on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road in Dubai.
One family friend told the Irish Independent the young couple had just decided they were going to extend their stay in Dubai for another year. Both had been teaching at the School of Research Science in Al Warqa, Dubai.
"Fiona's parents were in Lanzarote celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary when they got the call yesterday that their pride and joy was gone," the friend said.
"She was a lovely, bright, young, intelligent girl, who loved life. Fiona was just out in Dubai for a year with her boyfriend trying to save. I'm just devastated. I feel for her family - I'm numb.
"Words can't describe how the family are feeling after this terrible tragedy.
"Unfortunately we have lost Fiona. It could be any of our loved ones. I'm just devastated.
"Fiona was newly qualified and got a permanent position recently in Balbriggan.
"Herself and the boyfriend were on the bus but thankfully he's OK."
Ms Geraghty was a former Loreto Convent Balbriggan student. A statement released by St Molaga's, in Balbriggan, read: "We learned this morning of the death of Fiona Geraghty, one of our teachers. Fiona was on a career break from St Molaga's Senior National School this year. She was involved in a traffic accident in Dubai. This is a terrible tragedy for Fiona's family, our school and our community. We are deeply saddened by the news of her death.
"Fiona was a much-loved member of our staff and she will be greatly missed by all who knew her. She was an enthusiastic, energetic teacher who always got the best from her students.
"She was lively but calm, strong but gentle, innovative but creative in her work and loved by staff and pupils alike.
"Our school has implemented our critical incident management plan."