Boy (6) who died in Ballina drowning accident is named locally

Louie Chen went missing from his home in Co Mayo town on Sunday and was found in a stream

The six-year-old boy who died in a drowning accident in a stream near his Co Mayo home on Sunday has been named locally as Louie Chen.

Shortly after 1pm on Sunday afternoon, gardaí received reports that a boy had gone missing from his home at Rehins Fort, Ballina.

Following a search by gardaí and local residents, the boy was located a short time later from a nearby stream, close to the River Moy.

The boy was treated at the scene by gardaí and emergency service personnel and removed by ambulance to Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar where he was later pronounced dead.

Supt Joe Doherty, head of the Ballina Garda District, expressed his deepest sympathy to the family of the boy and the local community for what he described as "a tragic accident".

He commended the civilians, members of the rescue services as well as gardaí who took part in the rescue operation.

The local coroner has been notified of the death and a postmortem will be arranged.

The family of the young boy have two businesses in the Co Mayo area and are well known within the local community, local representatives have said.

Mark Duffy, an Independent councillor for the Ballina Municipal Area, said there is just "complete sadness" within the community over the whole thing.

“This is tragic news for any family, but it’s particularly difficult given the current situation,” he said.

“There is a sense of shock in every house in the area.We will all rally around the family in anyway we can. We are in unchartered territory in terms of how to grieve a boy who passed well before his time.”

John O'Hara, a Fine Gael councillor, said "everyone is just heartbroken".

“It is just devastating for the family. It is the worst thing that can happen to parents, for something to happen to their little boy or girl,” he said.

“The family is in everyone’s prayers but unfortunately at the minute, we cannot do much more than that.”

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times

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