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Five Family Members Die In Drowning Tragedy

Five members of a family died March 20 when their car slipped an algae-slick pier and slid into the water in County Donegal, Ireland.

Sean McGrotty, 49, as well as his two sons, Mark and Evan, aged 12 and eight respectively, died in the slip, Daily Mail reported.

The other two victims were McGrotty’s mother-in-law Ruth Daniels, 59, and Daniels’ daughter Jodie-Lee, 14.

The car slid as McGrotty tried to turn around on the pier to return home.

Davitt Walsh was a witness to the incident and managed to swim out to the vehicle to rescue McGrotty’s 4-month-old daughter, Rionaghac-Ann.

Walsh said McGrotty drowned trying to save the other family members.

“He could have saved himself because he was out of the car but he went back in to his family and I couldn't do [anything] else; the car went down instantly and the whole lot of them went down, it was just so fast. I took the baby back to the shore,” Walsh added, according to the Mail.

Three of the victims tried to break out of the car by smashing a window, but they failed to swim to safety because of their heavy clothing and the cold water.

“I think the father knew that I was only going to be able to save one person and he said to me, the last thing he said, he handed her to me and he said ‘save the baby’ and he stayed and he went back in [...] and the car just disappeared,” said Walsh.

McGrotty’s wife, Louise, helped carry the coffins back to the family home ahead of a joint funeral.

"They are inconsolable. Louise said to me: ‘I have lost everyone, except little Rionaghac-Ann,'" said Father Paddy O’Kane, the local priest.

Walsh had cuts on his feet and required crutches after being treated in hospital.

“He is recovering okay and has cuts and bruises but he’ll be grand. He is more worried about the family he helped,” Billy Walsh, Davitt’s father, told the Irish Mirror.

“It’ll be hard for him, too, and he says he feels terribly guilty he wasn’t able to save more,” Billy added.

Sources: Daily Mail, Irish Mirror / Photo credit: Belfast Live via Irish Mirror

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