Sunday 22 April 2018

Tragedy as man drowns after dive into quarry pool

Patrick's parents Tom and Helen with pictures of Patrick
as a child.
Patrick's parents Tom and Helen with pictures of Patrick as a child.
Patrick Smyth was an avid Manchester United fan.
Patrick's brother Tommy holds up Patrick’s Manchester United jersey.

Mark O' Regan

THE family of a 22-year-old man who drowned at the weekend believe he may have banged his head after diving into a disused quarry.

Patrick Smyth, from Newbridge, Co Kildare, was swimming with five friends at Ballykelly before getting into difficulties and disappearing under the water.

"Patrick and his friends decided to drive out to the quarry to enjoy the nice weather. There's a reasonably high ridge which people jump off to dive into the water. One of his friends jumped in first and then Pa jumped in with his runners on. When he came up to the surface he was fine and even laughing and joking about how his runners had come off. He was swimming normally and then all of a sudden he went under," his brother Tommy (24) told the Irish Independent.

"His friend grabbed him but Pa was really panicking. He kept holding him and told him to relax but Pa kept slipping under. Then they both went under; Pa slipped out of his friend's hand and just sank to the bottom."

One of Patrick's friends who was standing at the edge of the water jumped in to help. Despite spending many minutes searching underwater, they were unable to find Patrick.

The garda sub aqua unit removed his body from the water at 7.30pm, before it was brought to Naas General Hospital.

Shock

"He just disappeared. The quarry is 40-100 metres deep and Pa sank to the bottom. Either he got a smack on his head when he jumped in and he didn't realise it because he was in shock or he was too weak and he couldn't swim properly," said Tommy.

Speaking from their family home in Allenview Heights, Patrick's mother, Helen, says one of Patrick's friends informed her of the devastating news. "I still don't believe it. I think Patrick is playing a joke to be honest. I keep thinking he's messing and he'll come in the front door at any minute. He just went out to get a sun tan with his friends," she said.

During his school days he had attended St Conleths Community College in Newbridge where his mother had also worked during her career.

"They were there for only five minutes before it happened so it wasn't like there was drink involved. What they planned to do was go for a swim and then have a few drinks before heading home. One of their friends was just drinking water because he drove them out to the quarry. We don't know for sure what happened and I suppose we'll never know what actually happened," added Tommy.

Meanwhile, two divers swept a mile-and-a-half away from their boat yesterday morning were rescued by the Coastguard.

They were pulled from the water about 20 minutes before a car ferry was due to pass through the area.

The pair, a male and female, had been diving with a group near Dalkey Island in south Dublin when they failed to resurface just before 11.30am.

An emergency call was made to the Coastguard and the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre dispatched a lifeboat to the area.

The Naval LE Aoife vessel, a rescue helicopter from Dublin Airport, and the Dun Laoghaire Coastguard unit were also scrambled.

About 30 minutes later the divers were spotted on the surface about a mile-and-a-half north of the original site, having been swept away by the tide.

They were both understood to be unharmed.

Irish Independent

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