Five people from Derry killed in Buncrana pier tragedy


Five people including at least two children have been killed and a baby girl is in hospital after a car they were in slipped from a pier in Co Donegal.

The baby was saved with the help of a bystander and is said to be in a stable condition after the tragedy at Buncrana Pier.

Emergency services said they had recovered the bodies of a two boys, a man and a woman. The age of a second female fatality has not been confirmed.

The victims have not been named.

It is understood gardai are treating the incident as an accident and it is thought the car may have “slipped” into the water at around 7.30pm on Sunday.

The bodies have been taken to Letterkenny General Hospital and post-mortem examinations will take place in due course, a Garda spokesman said.

“A baby girl was rescued from the car, with the assistance of a bystander. The baby is currently in a stable condition at Letterkenny General Hospital,” they added and appealed for witnesses to come forward.

A major air and sea rescue mission was mounted by the coastguard, gardai and emergency services after the alarm was raised on Sunday evening.

Two lifeboats, a helicopter and local fishing boats were involved in the effort to save those trapped inside the car, believed to have a Northern Ireland registration plate.

Witnesses have described the scene as chaotic.

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he was saddened by the news.

He said on Twitter: “Very sad news of fatalities in an incident at Buncrana Pier tonight. Thoughts are with relatives of those involved and rescue services.”

Buncrana councillor Rena Donaghy told the BBC it was a “tragedy of enormous magnitude”.

She said: “I’ve been standing at the pier with so many others from the town looking out at blue flashing lights on the water in a state of complete shock.

“People here can’t believe what they’re hearing, can’t believe what they’re seeing.”

She described how the town had been “buzzing with people” before the incident, many of whom had arrived to enjoy the weather.

“It was so scenic and happy and now happiness has turned to tragedy,” she added.

Jack Murray, local Sinn Fein councillor in Inishowen, said the accident had brought back memories of past tragedies.

“I don’t know what to say about it, it’s just awful,” he said.

Mr Murray was among a large group of local people who came to the pier when news of the incident broke.

“People who had gathered there were just devastated, it was just complete silence from everybody who was standing there,” he said.

“It seems the baby was passed out as the car was sinking. The baby was passed out the window - a local who had been there tried to help and managed to recover the baby at that point.

“At this point I wouldn’t apportion any blame if there was signage or barriers - at this point it’s just trying to recover from what happened,” he told RTE Radio.