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Dublin: 18 °C Thursday 6 August, 2020

Man arrested in Lanzarote over failing to help Irish woman over drowning

Witnesses told police he vanished after spotting the tourist face down in the water.

Image: Shutterstock/Protasov AN

POLICE IN LAZAROTE have arrested a Moroccan man following the death of Irish tourist Elaine O’Donovan.

The 29-year-old man was held on suspicion of failing to assist the 41-year-old woman after she went for a late-night swim on Playa Grande after a night out.

Elaine, originally from Waterford city, was spotted with a man on the beach shortly before she was pulled unconscious from the sea around 4am on Sunday.

Witnesses told police the man vanished after spotting the woman face down in the water.

Elaine, who was based in London, had a pulse when paramedics arrived but died shortly after.

Civil Guard investigators said yesterday they had arrested a 29-year-old for failing in his duty of helping the tourist after identifying him following a search.

Elaine is understood to have met him the night she died.

He is understood to have been released on bail pending an ongoing investigation following a private court hearing.

A source close to the inquiry said Elaine’s life could have been saved if the suspect had acted as he should and called for help but ruled out any suggestion he had wanted the woman to come to any harm.

A Civil Guard spokesman confirmed: “Around 3am on Sunday several witnesses saw a couple on the beach and spotted the woman going into the water alone and the man staying on the shore.

“Moments later the woman appeared floating face down near the shore and the man, when he saw this, left the scene without trying to help her or raise the alarm.”

The Moroccan man has only been identified by his initials – A.S – and not his full name.

A well-placed local source said that if he was eventually convicted of failing to help Elaine, he could face just a fine.

Read: Paschal Donohoe backs Leo Varadkar to be next leader of Fine Gael

More: More than a quarter of homes in Poolbeg will be social and affordable housing

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Gerard Couzens

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