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Two brothers die in diving tragedy in Tipperary

The incident occurred this afternoon.

The incident happened earlier today in Portroe in Tipperary
The incident happened earlier today in Portroe in Tipperary

Updated Jul 5th 2020, 7:52 PM

TWO BROTHERS HAVE died in a diving incident in Co Tipperary.

The tragedy unfolded at the Portroe Dive Centre, located at Portroe Quarry, around 1.30pm.

The two men’s bodies were removed from the scene to University of Limerick where post mortems are expected to take place later.

A major search and rescue operation swung into place involving Killaloe Coast Guard, gardaí, and ambulance personnel.

Kilaloe Coast Guard were returning to their base from another call out, when they immediately responded to the alert at the quarry.

The Coast Guard Search and Rescue Helicopter, based at Shannon Airport, was tasked to respond to the emergency alert, but it’s crew was stood down after the bodies of both divers were recovered and pronounced dead at the scene.

A garda spokesman said: “Gardaí attended an incident in Portroe, Co. Tipperary where two males have drowned.

“The males are believed to have been diving when they got into trouble at approximately 1:30pm.

“The bodies of both men have been removed to Limerick University Hospital where (post mortems) are due to take place.“

Garda sources said they were treating the incident as a “tragic accident”.

A reliable source confirmed the deceased men are brothers, understood to be from Co Laois.

“No one was expecting this,” they said.

“They were experienced divers but what exactly happened I can’t say for sure. A lot of divers come from around the country to attend the dive centre in Portroe.

“There are a lot of members locally but a lot of people visit. It’s known as a good place to practice diving.”

According to reports one of the men got into difficulty in the water and his sibling entered the water to try to help, however both men, aged in their 30s and 40s, tragically lost their lives.

Local non-party councillor Seamus Morris described the incident as “a tragedy for the men’s families and all involved at the dive centre“.

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“As a dive centre, it’s used by local divers and it has always been very professionally run. Obviously, my sympathies go to the men’s families and the dive club.”

“I don’t know what happened, but diving is a sport that, unfortunately, has serious consequences if things don’t go right,” Morris added.

A post on Portroe Dive Centre’s Facebook page last week announced that it was due to reopen Saturday, after it closed last March in line with Covid-19 public health guidelines on social distancing.

According to the dive centre’s website, Portroe Quarry is “one of the best inland dive locations in Ireland” and is “always divable regardless of weather conditions”.

“Portroe slate quarry opened up 5 years ago as a dive centre,” it explained.

Divers accessing Portroe Quarry can explore deep water of up to 40m featuring car wrecks, an underwater pub, construction machinery, stone huts, and a sunken boat, the dive centre said.

A contact spokesman for the dive centre said they were not in a position to immediately comment.

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David Raleigh

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