Emergency crews "devastated" by
BOOKS of condolence are
to open following the loss of five members of an
extended family in a drowning tragedy at Buncrana
Pier on Sunday evening.
Those who died were Sean McGrotty, 49, from Derry;
his sons Mark, 12, and Evan, 8, his mother-in-law
Ruth Daniels, 59, and Ms Daniels' daughter Jodie Lee
Mr McGrotty's four-month-old baby daughter Rionaghac-Ann
was rescued at the scene and is said to be doing
well in hospital.
His wife Louise, who was at a hen party at the
weekend, is being comforted on her immense loss by
family and friends.
She has been to see her baby daughter at Letterkenny
The tragedy unfolded after Mr McGrotty's 4x4 got
into difficulty on the slipway of the local pier and
slid into the deep tidal water shortly before
7.15pm. It had earlier been a beautiful sunny day
that saw scores of daytrippers and anglers make
their way to the seaside.
Emergency response teams attempted to resuscitate
the victims at the pier but the five were later
pronounced dead by a local doctor.
Pier tragedy: Clockwise, Sean
McGrotty, Ruth Daniels, Mark and Evan McGrotty, and
Jodie Lee Daniels.
Lough Swilly RNLI
Lifeboat operations manager John McCarter said:
"Our volunteer lifeboat crew were one of the first
emergency services on scene and recovered the five
casualties from the water. We were devastated to
learn subsequently that those five people, including
young children, had lost their lives. We wish to
commend the actions of the member of the public who
selflessly entered the water and rescued the baby
and we wish them both a full recovery."
Mr McCarter added: "While our volunteer lifeboat
crew train for and respond to every possible
incident, the events in our community last night,
were extremely tragic and challenging for our
lifeboat crew. Our thoughts are now with the
families who have lost loved ones in this awful
Among those who also took part in what was one of
the area's largest air and sea emergency responses
were Greencastle Coast Guard; a Coast Guard
helicopter crew; Gardaí and the local fire service.
Emergency teams from Derry also responded.
Donegal County Council will open a book of
condolence at its offices at St Oran's Road,
Cathaoirleach Cllr Ciaran Brogan extended his
sympathies to the bereaved families and praised the
"valiant efforts to save the lives" of the victims.
The Mayor of Derry Cllr Elisha McCallion will open
books of condolence at St Joseph’s Church, Galliagh
and Holy Family Church in Ballymagroarty following
the tragic incident.
Funerals for the deceased will take place at Holy
Family church in Ballymagroarty in Derry on Thursday