A DUBLIN salesman miraculously swam to safety after a man he'd just met one day earlier locked him in a car and drove off Howth Pier.
Car dealer Jeremy Beshoff was lucky to escape with his life yesterday when a customer went on a murder-suicide mission.
Mr Beshoff (21) managed to smash through the window of a Mini Cooper that plunged around 20ft into Howth Harbour.
The 45-year-old driver of the car drowned despite the efforts of Howth Coast Guard, who were quickly on the scene.
Gardai in Howth are investigating the incident but are treating it as a "personal misadventure".
A relieved friend said: "Jeremy was brought up with sailing and is a very strong swimmer, but not a big build. He smashed the window and swam to the surface."
A family friend told the Herald that the driver had been to Beshoff Motors in Howth on Monday to discuss buying the car.
"He came back yesterday and said that he thought there was a problem with the car and could he take it for another test drive."
It is understood that Jeremy offered to go out with the man and observe the alleged fault.
But he could never have predicted the shocking ordeal that he was about to be put through.
"The man said nothing to him [Jeremy], he just turned the car on to the harbour and put his foot down. It was very strange." And an onlooker explained: "The driver went back and forward a couple of times near the edge of the pier.
"Then the car went forward and over edge of pier into water."
The car plunged into the water and quickly became submerged but Mr Beshoff managed to escape by smashing a window and swimming to the surface.
The middle pier is the smallest one of three and is mainly used by fishing vessels. He was rescued by some crew who were working on the vessels.
The driver remained in the car until he was removed a short time later by divers.
He was brought to Beaumont Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Gardai told the Herald that Mr Beshoff was also taken to the same hospital "as a precaution".
"He was sitting up in the ambulance shortly afterwards and was fine when we spoke to him yesterday evening," said a friend.
Howth Coast Guard told the Herald that they were alerted to the incident by Dublin Fire Service at around 3.15pm.
"One body was recovered and the other man swam ashore," said a crew member today.
Ten members of the unit were supported by members of the RNLI Lifeboat, gardai and the fire service.
The body of the other person in the car was recovered from the water by a Dive Team along with the RNLI lifeboat and taken away by Fire Brigade paramedics.