Thursday 22 August 2019

Tributes paid to tragic Jill Amante (14) who drowned in Louth

Family members of drowned victim 14-year-old Jill Amante at their home in Drogheda. Picture: Mick ONeill
Family members of drowned victim 14-year-old Jill Amante at their home in Drogheda. Picture: Mick ONeill
Family members of drowned victim 14-year-old Jill Amante at their home in Drogheda. Picture: Mick ONeill
Family members of drowned victim 14-year-old Jill Amante (left), mother Mercy Amante, with aunty Jemima Sackey, and Jill's father Alex Amante at their home in Drogheda. Picture: Mick ONeill
Scene: Seapoint beach near Termonfeckin. Photo: CIARA WILKINSON

Allison Bray and Markus Krug

A teenage girl who died in a drowning accident at Seapoint beach in Co Louth has been named as Jill Amante.

Ms Amante got into difficulty while swimming at the beach in Termonfeckin.

It is understood the 14-year-old was swimming with friends yesterday afternoon when the alarm was raised, just before 3pm.

The coastguard attended the scene and she was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.

Family members of drowned victim 14-year-old Jill Amante (left), mother Mercy Amante, with aunty Jemima Sackey, and Jill's father Alex Amante at their home in Drogheda. Picture: Mick ONeill
Family members of drowned victim 14-year-old Jill Amante (left), mother Mercy Amante, with aunty Jemima Sackey, and Jill's father Alex Amante at their home in Drogheda. Picture: Mick ONeill

A spokesperson for the Irish Coastguard told the Irish Independent: "We got a call at 14.34 from Dublin Coastguard.

"The girl was in a group of three who were swimming and only two came back."

A lifeboat was called and the R116 helicopter was dispatched from Dublin just after 3pm.

The girl was spotted in the water and a winch was used to recover her from the sea.

She was taken from the water to the beach and rushed to hospital.

"It seems as if she was caught by a riptide," the Irish Coastguard said.

Scene: Seapoint beach near Termonfeckin. Photo: CIARA WILKINSON
Scene: Seapoint beach near Termonfeckin. Photo: CIARA WILKINSON

Gardaí later confirmed that the girl had passed away in hospital.

Clogherhead Coastguard issued a statement on Facebook: "Clogherhead Coastguard unit would like to offer our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the teenage girl who passed away this evening following a tragic accident at Termonfeckin beach today. We would like to thank everyone who assisted our team today Rescue 116, Clogherhead lifeboat and Skerries lifeboat."

Local Labour councillor Michelle Hall said people were deeply saddened by the death.

"The beach is a popular destination for teenagers at this time of year, especially with the warm weather predicted for this week," he said. "It's unthinkable that something so tragic should happen."

Ms Amante was a second year student at Ballymakenny College in Drogheda and the school principal Alan Mynes issued a statement in her memory.

"We are deeply saddened by this devastating news. Jill was a bright, funny and popular student - she made a tremendous contribution to Ballymakenny College life in her short time", he said.

He added that Jill Amante was "always a polite and outgoing student and will be missed by all staff and students".

Liz Maher (39), from nearby Ballivor, was enjoying a day at Seapoint Beach with her husband Colin (41) when they saw the rescue helicopter circling overhead. "I saw the winch man hanging down looking into the water. I was hoping it was a drill," Mr Maher said.

The sprawling sandy beach was all but deserted by teatime when the clouds moved in.

Jamie Carroll (42), from Ardee had no idea of the accident that took place just hours before. "I've been coming here for 20 years and there's never been a problem," he said. "It's a shallow enough beach and generally calm."

Irish Independent

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