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Buncrana tragedy: Rescued baby girl "doing very well" in hospital

A Derry man, his two sons, his mother-in-law and her teenage daughter were all killed when their jeep went into the water.
Mar 21st 2016, 2:40 PM 86,638 39

Updated 2.24pm

joiner From top left: Evan McGrotty with his father Sean, Jodie Lee-Daniels, Mark McGrotty and Ruth Daniels Source: Facebook

A BABY GIRL taken from the water in last night’s tragedy in Buncrana is “doing very well”.

Locals in the Donegal town are reeling this morning from the accident, which saw five people lose their lives, including two children. The deceased have been named locally as Sean McGrotty, his two sons Mark (12) and Evan (8), his mother-in-law Ruth Daniels and her 14-year-old daughter Jodie Lee.

The man’s baby girl was passed to a bystander from the car as it sank into the water and she was taken to hospital.

The mother of the two boys and the rescued baby girl was away in England for the weekend and is being comforted at home in Derry today.

buncrana1 The scene at the pier in Buncrana this morning. Source: Cianan Brennan/

Speaking to members of the media today, Superintendent Colm Nevin said investigations were ongoing.

He said that Buncrana Garda Station had received a call at around 7pm last night.

A by-stander who was close by rescued a four-month-old baby from the vehicle. She is now in Letterkenny General Hospital doing very well.

He said that the bodies of those who died have been recovered and the family has been notified. Post mortems are under way.

He added that the Audi Q7 in which the family had been travelling had been recovered.

Garda Nevin said that the local man who rescued the baby “displayed exceptional bravery”.

Francis Crawford, who lives in the area, told RTÉ he spoke to the man who was driving the car in the moments before it sank and he called the Coast Guard.

He saw a bystander rescue the baby girl from the water and said people were “hoping against hope the car would stay afloat”.

20160321_085835 Local man Francis Crawford at the scene this morning. Source: Cianan Brennan/

“All within ten minutes the family was gone,” he said.

The whole thing was surreal, heart-rending and harrowing to witness. This man was still shouting to me when the car went down. There was nothing I could do, or nothing anyone could do.

He said emergency services had been on the scene within minutes and acted very quickly.

John McCarter of Lugh Swilly RNLI said the incident very quickly became a recovery operation.

At the scene this morning he said it was unclear what exactly had happened, but it appears there may have been an issue with the locks as they were unable to get the doors open.

20160321_094440 John McCarter speaking to reporters this morning. Source: Cianan Brennan/

He described it as “a tragedy without comprehension” and the worst he has ever seen on Lough Swilly.

Speaking to this morning, local Sinn Féin councillor Jack Murray said the community is in shock.

It’s just horrific. I was down at the beach last night, there were about 100 people there and there was just silence. At that point it was clear that it was a recovery operation for bodies rather than a rescue operation.

He said Buncrana is a community that has had “its fair share of tragedies”, particularly road crashes.

“The memories of those were brought back last night too, people are just stunned at the tragedies that happened.”

People there last night were hoping it wasn’t going to be as bad as it was, they gathered hoping for better news but as the news came through people were just horrified.

Gardaí have said they are treating the incident as a “tragic accident”. It is believed the driver was trying to turn the vehicle on the pier when it got caught on the slipway and slid down into the water.

Post-mortems are due to take place on the bodies of the five victims today.

- With reporting by Cianan Brennan in Buncrana. 

Read: Five people dead and baby girl rescued after vehicle goes into water at pier in Donegal>

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Michelle Hennessy


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