Two more swimming-related deaths as number in past week rises to nine

Monaghan boy (14) dies after difficulty in lake and man dies at harbour in Co Antrim

Hollywood lake in Co Monaghan. Photograph: Google Street View

Hollywood lake in Co Monaghan. Photograph: Google Street View

 

A 14-year-old boy who got into difficulties while swimming in a lake in Co Monaghan has died, bringing the number of swimming-related fatalities on the island of Ireland in the past week to nine.

The teenager had been airlifted to Temple Street Children’s hospital in Dublin in serious condition after he was pulled from Hollywood lake in Co Monaghan shortly after 4pm.

The boy was pronounced dead at the hospital on Monday. Gardaí said they are treating the incident as a tragic accident and will prepare a file for the coroner.

His death comes after several swimming-related accidents and fatalities this week.

Also on Monday, a man died after being recovered from the water at Ballintoy Harbour in County Antrim.

The man died at the scene. Police are not treating his death as suspicious.

The Coastguard said teams from Coleraine and Ballycastle attended the incident on Monday evening, shortly after 9pm, as well as the Kilkeel lifeboat, a Coastguard helicopter from Scotland, the police and the ambulance service.

A postmortem examination is to be carried out later, the PSNI said.

On Monday, a man was rescued from the water at Whitestown in Carlingford, Co. Louth at approximately 9pm after an inflatable raft was discovered by a fisherman earlier in the day with nobody on board.

A multi-agency search operation was conducted the man was discovered in the water, approximately 2km off the coastline. He was rescued by a RNLI lifeboat and taken to Beaumont Hospital by Air Ambulance.

On Sunday evening a man in his 60s died after getting into difficulty while swimming at Tramore beach in Co Waterford.

Gardaí and emergency services were called to the beach at Tramore on Sunday evening at about 5.30pm.

The man was recovered from the water and taken to Waterford Regional Hospital but was later pronounced dead. A postmortem is expected to take place.

On Friday afternoon, a male aged in his 60s was recovered from the water at Dollymount, Dublin 3.

A Garda spokesman said his body has been removed to Dublin City Mortuary for postmortem.

Irish Water Safety said an average of 115 people die every year in Irish waters, with many people overestimating their abilities and underestimating the dangers.

The five other fatalities in the past week included teenager Jay Moffett (13), who died after entering a lake in the Canal Court area of Scarva in Co Down. His funeral took place on Friday afternoon.

On Tuesday afternoon, a 15-year-old boy died after getting into difficulty while swimming in Lough Sheelin, Co Cavan.

On Wednesday night, mother-of-two Natasha Core died after rescuing her son from a lake in Co Cavan.

Ms Core, who was in her late 20s, jumped into the water moments after seeing her nine-year-old son get into difficulty while out swimming in Loch Gowna. While her son came to safety, Ms Core herself then got into difficulties in a dangerous stretch of water.

Also on Wednesday, Peter Jones (55) died in Co Fermanagh following an incident at the Lough Melvin area, close to the small village of Garrison. Mr Jones was a father of six.

In Co Leitrim, also on Wednesday, the body of a man in his 70s who was snorkelling at Spencer Harbour, Drunkeeran was recovered. He was named locally as Michael Hoey.

Appeal for safety

Ahead of the August bank holiday weekend, Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton has issued an appeal to anybody engaging in coastal or water-based activity to be attentive to their personal safety and adhere to basic safety measures.

Members of the public were advised never to bring inflatables onto the water.

“Tragically, last week we saw a total of seven drownings on the island of Ireland in seven days, the majority of which were on inland waterways. I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the loved ones of those we have lost at sea on their heart-breaking and untimely loss,” she said.

“This loss of lives in as many days provides a stark reminder to us all as to how quickly serious accidents can happen. This Bank Holiday weekend we can all make personal decisions which will go a long way towards staying safe in the water.”

Ms Naughton advised that swimmers be accompanied, that inflatables are never brought onto the water, and to let friends or family know your planned return time. Open-water swimmers and long-distance swimmers should wear a high visibility swim cap and use a tow float to ensure they are visible at all times.

The Marine Safety Communications group, co-ordinated by the Department of Transportalso advised that people only swim in lifeguarded beaches or on beaches that are in regular use, and to be alert to local safety warnings. Users of Jet Skis were asked to be mindful of swimmers by avoiding swimming areas and by observing local bye laws.

The Coast Guard has seen a major growth in demand for assistance this year and to date has co-ordinated responses to a total of 1,763 incidents, an increase of 400 for the same period last year and 150 more than any year over the last five.

Ms Naughton reminded anybody engaged in outdoor activities to always check the weather forecast and tide times and local conditions. People should also be mindful of the risk posed by local currents and in particular rip currents.

The Minister also appealed to coastal walkers to avoid any areas with which they are not familiar and stay away from coastal and cliff edges.