Donegal mother dies after falling from boat on Lough Erne

Woman in her 30s was on cruiser with husband and two children

The boat involved in the tragedy moored at the rear of Devenish Island along with a police boat. Photograph: Ronan McGrade/Pacemaker

The boat involved in the tragedy moored at the rear of Devenish Island along with a police boat. Photograph: Ronan McGrade/Pacemaker

 

A Co Donegal village is in mourning following the death of a local woman in a boating accident on Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh.

The woman died after falling overboard while on an Easter break with her husband and two children.

The couple had traveled from their home in the east Donegal village of Convoy to spend a couple of days on a cruise boat on the waterway in Co Fermanagh.

It is understood the woman was originally from China, while her husband comes from Strabane in neighbouring Co Tyrone.

Local county councillor Liam Doherty said: “It is sad to think that this young family went off on an Easter break and this tragedy visits them. It’s just so sad.

“I have spoken to a number of people locally and people did know them to see but it appears that they were private people. I didn’t know them personally.”

Cllr Doherty said he understood that the woman’s family were now trying to arrange visas to Ireland so they could mourn with her husband and children.

Shock

The woman’s husband and the couple’s two children, aged 11 and 13, were being treated for shock.

It is understoodthe woman was checking the vessel was securely tied to the jetty before going to bed when she slipped and fell into the water.

Her husband heard his wife falling and dived into the waters of Lough Erne but failed to find her.

Emergency services found her body just before 2am. Intensive attempts to resuscitate her failed.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Inspector Clive Beatty said the woman’s husband dived into the lough to search for her.

“Police arrived a very short time later with all the other emergency services and at 0154 hours we recovered a body from the water,” he said.

“We performed CPR ourselves and transferred then to the ambulance who continued to conduct CPR until 0257 hours when unfortunately she was pronounced deceased at hospital.”

Mr Beatty said the two children were asleep on the boat when their mother fell into the water.

Holiday

“They are a family from Donegal and they were up here on holiday just for the Easter weekend,” he told BBC Radio Ulster.

“We’d like to extend our sympathies to the family at this very tragic time.” Former Stormont first minister Arlene Foster, an Assembly member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, extended her condolences.

The Democratic Unionist leader said: “This is heartbreaking news for the area. I want to extend my sympathy, thoughts and prayers to the friends and family of this young woman. The death of a young life will come as an immense shock to this area and in particular the woman’s family.

“Lough Erne and Devenish Island is often pictured as a scene of beauty but today it is the scene of such tragic circumstances. I wish to thank the emergency services and the RNLI who attended the scene. As we enter into the holiday period, I would urge everyone to exercise caution while on the water.”

Sinn Féin Assembly member Jemma Dolan said: “The news of the death of a woman in her 30s in a boating tragedy in Lough Erne near Devenish Island has shocked the local community.

“I’d like to commend the efforts of the emergency crews who came to the scene to provide assistance.

“My thoughts are with the family and friends of this young woman from Donegal at this difficult time.”