Monday, March 21, 2016
Photos of Tragic family of five who lost their lives in pier plunge
The two sons who died in the Buncranna Pier tragedy
Two adults and three children lost their lives when the Audi Q7 they were in entered the water at the slipway in Buncrana, Co Donegal, Ireland. It is believed the family were from the Galliagh area of Derry.
The bodies of a woman Ruth Daniels, 57, who is understood to be from the Shantallow area, her teenage daughter, Jodie Lee Daniels 15, Sean McGrotty 46, originally from the Creggan area, and his two children, Mark 12 and Evan James 8, drowned. Post mortems are currently being carried out this morning at Letterkenny University Hospital. More pics when you continue.
Jodie Lee Daniels, daughter who died when her car plunged off the pier
Their remains were recovered from Lough Swilly after their vehicle, an Audi Q7 4x4, went into the water off Buncrana pier at around 7.30pm last night.
It is now believed the car slipped on algae as it turned on the pier and then plunged into the water.
The large vehicle was recovered from the water around 9 pm.
An investigation has now been launched into the tragic accident.
A baby girl, aged two months, was rescued with the assistance of a bystander and is in a stable condition in Letterkenny Hospital.
Ruth Daniels, the mother who died when her car plunged off the pier
The mother of the children had been on a “hen weekend” in England at the time of the tragedy.
The bodies were recovered during a major search operation involving the Irish Coast Guard helicopter, the Lough Swilly lifeboat and local fishing boats.
Three ambulances and two rapid response cars were sent from Derry by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service to assist with the incident.
Eyewitness Francis Crawford told of how the driver of the car was screaming for help as it slid off the peir and into the sea.
He said: "The man was still shouting to me when the car went down. It was very sad."
"There was nothing I could do or nothing anybody could do.
"Any of the people who could do something were coming as quick as they could and got here in great time and knew what to do.
"But it was all too late. There was nothing anybody could do. Everybody did what they could and it was too late."
He went on to say how another bystander stripped down to his underwear and leapt into the sea to save the baby.
An image from the Scene
Describing him as a hero Francis added: "How he got (the baby) ... they are saying it was handed out to him."
"When he came back he was totally exhausted. I think if he had another five yards to go - I can't see how he would have made it."
It is thought the driver tried to reverse at the edge of the slipway but the wheels failed to gain traction on the thick film of algae.
The pier is used for a local ferry service which runs across the Swilly from Buncrana to Rathmullan.
It is a very popular scenic spot, with hundreds of day-trippers visiting the area from Londonderry and the north-west every weekend.
Francis described the panic that ensued with the car sinking within 10 minutes of it sliding down the slipway.
He added: "All the time the car was bobbling about and I knew the services were all on their way and I was hoping against hope that the car would stay up until the people came.
"I was watching the car and the nose of it started to dip and then all of a sudden the whole of it started to go down, nose first, and everything stopped."
A major air and sea rescue mission was mounted by the Irish Coast Guard, gardai and emergency services after the alarm was raised.