Monday, 21 March 2016

Buncrana tragedy: Londonderry family lose five members in Donegal drowning


The five victims of the drowning tragedyImage copyrightSocial media
Image captionThe Irish Coastguard have launched a major search and rescue operation after what they are describing as a "tragedy"
The family which lost five members in the drowning tragedy off the Irish coast has praised the man who saved a four-month-old baby girl.
Those who died were the husband, sister, mother and two sons of Louise McGrotty, from Londonderry.
Media captionDavitt Walsh told RTÉ he could "see the distress in the family" as their car began to sink
They have been named as Sean McGrotty, 49, his sons Mark, 12, and Evan, 8, his mother-in-law Ruth Daniels, 59 and Ruth's daughter Jodie Lee Daniels, 14.
Mrs McGrotty had just returned from a hen party in England on Sunday night when she was told about the tragedy.
Jim McGrotty, Sean McGrotty's brother, has spoken on behalf of the family.
He said they have all been living a nightmare since news of the tragedy unfolded.
Floral tributesImage copyrightPACEMAKER
Image captionPolice say the four-month-old baby rescued is doing well in hospital

'Devoted father and husband'

"I was sitting at home when news of the tragedy started to emerge last night. My thoughts were for the families of those involved, little did I realise then that it was my own family members who had died.
"On behalf of the family we want to thank that brave man who swam into the sea and who saved the life of Louise's baby Rionaghac-Ann, who is only four months old.
"We have since found out that Rionaghac-Ann's father Sean handed his baby daughter out of the window of the car into the arms of the brave man who dived in to help just seconds before the car sank with the other family members inside.
People coming to pay their respectsImage copyrightPACEMAKER
Image captionPeople have come to Buncrana to pay their respects
"There has been a constant stream of callers arriving at the house since word of who was involved has become public.
"On behalf of the family we wish to thank those people for their support and for their love at this very difficult time for us all.
"Words cannot express the enormity of the tragedy which has befallen our family. We are all numbed by this tragedy which has visited us.
"If there is anything good which has come out of it is the fact that baby Rionaghac-Ann has been saved," he said.

'Grief cannot be measured'

"My brother Sean was the most devoted of fathers and husbands. He idolised his children. Mark was a first-year student at St Joseph's Secondary School and Evan his brother, who had muscular dystrophy was a pupil at St Eithne's Primary School.
"The principals of the schools visited the family home this morning and it was clearly distressing for them. Jodie Lee's principal also called with us and she too was upset."
Map
Among those who visited the family home was local parish priest Fr Paddy O'Kane.
He said: "The grief of the family cannot be measured. There was a numbness and stillness in the family home and my thoughts and prayers, and the thoughts and prayers of the entire parish and further afield, are with those bereaved.
"Poor Louise has lost so many of her family in this tragedy and she only received the news when she returned from a family function in England yesterday evening," he said.
"It's just so hard to put into words what has happened to this family."

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