Man arrested in Lanzarote over failing to help Irishwoman who drowned

Holidaymaker Elaine O’Donovan died following swim at Playa Grande

Police in Lanzarote have arrested a man following the death of Irish holidaymaker Elaine O’Donovan.

The 29-year-old was held on suspicion of failing to assist the 41-year-old after she went for a late-night swim and drowned on Playa Grande .

Ms O’Donovan had been holidaying with her parents, according to Spanish authorities.

Ms O’Donovan, originally from Waterford city, was spotted with a man on the beach shortly before she was taken from the sea early on Sunday morning.


People passing by tried to help Ms O’Donovan, but the emergency services confirmed that she had died.

Civil Guard investigators said on Thursday they had arrested the man for failing in his duty of helping Ms O’Donovan after identifying him following a search.

According to the civil guard, the arrested man had been seen on the beach with Ms O’Donovan at around 3am but stayed on the shore when she went swimming.

“Soon after, it seems that the woman appeared face down on the beach and the man, on seeing this, left without helping her or calling for help,” the civil guard said.

A source close to the inquiry said she could have been saved if the man had called for help but ruled out any suggestion he had wanted her to come to any harm. He is understood to have been released on bail pending an ongoing investigation.

Ms O’Donovan was an environmental engineer had an international career specialising in the provision of water and sanitation services in the developing world. She was recently based in London.