Father and son who drowned were in Donegal renovating holiday home

Teenager fell into Lough Keel by accident and man died trying to rescue him

A father and son who died in a drowning incident in Co Donegal on Thursday were renovating their holiday home.

The men, who have not been officially named, died at Lough Keel on the outskirts of Kilmacrennan on Thursday afternoon.

The father was in his early 50s while the son was 17. They are understood not to have been from Ireland and had been living in Douglas on the Isle of Man.

The victims, along with another 15-year-old son, had taken a break from renovations at the holiday home at Coolboy on the outskirts of Letterkenny, to go fishing.


However, shortly before 3pm the 17-year-old fell into the lough and his father jumped in to try and save him. However, both father and son drowned and the youngest boy survived.

Irish Water employees working nearby raised the alarm and a massive search and rescue operation involving the Rescue 118 helicopter, Mulroy Coast Guard, gardaí and ambulance personnel took place.

The body of the teenager was spotted by the Rescue 118 helicopter and recovered not long after the tragedy.

Divers from the Sheephaven sub-aqua unit recovered the remains of the father after 6pm that evening.

It is understood that other members of the family, including the deceased man’s wife, were due to arrive in Donegal on Friday.

The remains of both victims were taken to Letterkenny University Hospital where postmortems are due to be carried out.

‘So wrong’

Local county councillor Ian McGarvey said his thoughts and prayers were with the young man who had survived the tragedy and the extended family of the men who had drowned.

“People are numb that two lives have been taken in this manner following such a simple thing like a fishing trip.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time. Lough Keel is a beautiful part of our county and for this to happen in such a scenic and peaceful place just makes it so wrong on all fronts,” he said.

Local councillor Michael McBride said there was a “dark cloud” hanging over the area . “People are understandably saddened and shocked over what has happened,” he said. “For a family day out to end up like this is just unthinkable.

“On behalf of Kilmacrennan I want to offer my condolence to the man’s family and let them know we are united in our grief.”

The Garda investigation into the incident is ongoing.