Diver dies in hospital after Donegal incident

Victim is fifth diving fatality in Ireland in past month

Sun, Jul 13, 2014, 15:51

A man has died in a diving incident off Co Donegal yesterday.

Gardai and emergency rescue services said the 57-year-old man from Co Tyrone was diving with a 24-year-old friend from Derry near St John’s Point lighthouse in when they got into difficulty.

The dead man has been named as Rev Dr Stewart Jones of Donemana Presbyterian Church near Strabane, Co Tyrone. He was a chaplain at Altnagelvin Hospital.

They were on their second dive when they reached the surface and were hit by a freak wave at about 4.30pm.

Dr Jones , a qualified diving instructor, died at Sligo General Hospital last night after being airlifted from the scene. The other man was also taken to hospital but he was later released.

Emergency services said there was no problem with the breathing equipment but it is believed the way the wave struck the men caused a serious problem.

The Coast Guard in Killybegs and Bundoran lifeboat were alerted and went to the scene. The Coast Guard helicopter 118 from Strandhill, Co Sligo, was also sent to the scene.

Presbyterian clerk of session at Donemana Tommy Allen said: “Rev Jones was much-loved in the neighbourhood. We’re still trying to understand what happened.

“He was a qualified diver but you never know what is around the corner. “The community is devastated.”

Four other men have died while diving off Ireland’s coast in the past month.

A 45-year-old Co Limerick man got into difficulty when diving on a German U-boat off Roche’s Point at the mouth of Cork harbour on June 14th, and a Polish national, also aged 45, died a day later near Inishtrahull, off Malin Head, Co Donegal.

Two weeks ago, two English divers, aged 61 and 66 respectively, became the third and fourth fatalities in less than a month. They were among a group exploring the German U260 submarine wreck lying in 42 metres of water, 6km off the west Cork coast.