Republic of Ireland news

Donegal drowning victim (17) died trying to save father

The Irish Coastguard 118 rescue helicopter was called in to assist in the search for the father and son who drowned in County Donegal on Thursday.
Seamus McKinney

A teenager who died in a double drowning tragedy in Co Donegal jumped into the water in a desperate effort to save his father's life.

The 17-year-old and his father lost their lives at Lough Keel near Kilmacrennan on Thursday afternoon.

A 15-year-old brother, who also jumped into the lake, managed to scramble out and survived.

He was severely traumatised and was treated at Letterkenny University Hospital.

Originally from Germany but living in the Isle of Man, the family have a holiday home near Kilmacrennan and it is understood the father and two sons had gone to Co Donegal to work on the house.

A sister, who lives in Belfast, travelled to the county on Thursday night while her mother was understood to be making her way to Ireland yesterday.

It is understood the father, who was in his early 50s, and his sons were fishing at Lough Keel when he slipped and fell into the lake.

Both sons attempted to save their father but the 17-year-old also got into difficulties and drowned.

Irish Water employees working nearby heard their cries for help and raised the alarm shortly before 3pm.

Mulroy Coastguard were joined by the Irish Coastguard 118 rescue helicopter and members of Sheephaven Sub Aqua unit in the search.

The body of one of the victims was recovered almost immediately.

However, the second was not found until later on Thursday evening.

Post mortem examinations were due to be carried out in Letterkenny yesterday.

Kilmacrennan councillor John O'Donnell said a "dark cloud" has descended on the area.

"People are just shocked that a double tragedy like this can happen on our doorstep,” he said.

Mr O'Donnell added that the deaths were the first tragedy on Lough Keel in almost 100 years.

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