Northern Ireland news

Family of woman who fell into Lough Erne travelling from China for funeral

Luna McKinney lost her life after falling from a boat moored at the rear of Devenish Island along. Picture: Ronan McGrade/Pacemaker Press.

THE family of a Chinese woman who died after falling from a boat in Co Fermanagh are trying to obtain emergency visas to travel to Ireland for her funeral.

Luna McKinney (35), who was originally from China, was checking the ropes of the boat were secure when she is believed to have slipped and fallen into the water on Lough Erne early on Thursday.

Her husband Stephen, who is originally from Strabane, was alerted by the sound of the splash and dived in and made desperate attempts to find her in the water.

When he could not locate her in the dark, he contacted emergency services. Her body was found a short time later close to the back of the boat.

The couple had hired a cruiser with their two children, a boy aged 13 and girl aged 11, and had travelled to the popular tourist spot of Devenish Island for the Easter holidays.

The two children were asleep on the boat at the time of the tragedy.

The family, who live in Convoy, Co Donegal, had moved to the area after returning home from China where they had lived for three years.

Less than 24 hours after the harrowing ordeal, Mr McKinney returned to the family home in the Flax Fields area of Donegal. Neighbours said he appeared to still be in a state of shock following the tragic events.

It is understood five members of the victim's family are trying to obtain emergency visas to travel from China to Ireland for her funeral. It remained unclear last night when the service would take place.

Relatives of Mr McKinney are also understood to have travelled from his home town of Strabane to comfort him. His family are well known in the Co Tyrone town, where his parents still live and where his two children were baptised when the family returned home to Ireland from China.

Sinn Féin councillor Liam Doherty said there was shock in the Convoy area as the news emerged the family at the centre of the tragedy were living there.

"The local people here, and the local shop owners who knew Luna and her husband Stephen, just couldn't believe it," he said.

"Stephen is bearing up well but it's very tough on him."

An investigation into the tragedy is continuing. Police believe Mrs McKinney was not wearing a life jacket.

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