Community in shock following tragic drowning deaths in Kerry 1 week ago

Community in shock following tragic drowning deaths in Kerry

A man and a woman died after getting into difficulty in the water at Ballybunion beach on Thursday.

Local residents have spoken of their shock and upset following the deaths of two people in Kerry on Thursday evening (4 August).

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At approximately 6pm on Thursday, Gardaí and emergency services including the Irish Coast Guard were alerted after two people, a man and a woman, got into difficulty in the water at Ballybunion beach.

They were taken from the water and pronounced dead a short time later. The bodies of both individuals were removed from the scene by ambulance and taken to the mortuary at University Hospital Kerry.

Post-mortem examinations are set to be carried out in due course.

A spokesperson for An Garda Síochána told JOE that the incident is being treated as a tragic accident.

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It is understood that the deceased were a brother and sister; a 50-year-old man from Roscommon and a 62-year-old woman with an address in Malmo, Sweden.

Speaking on Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1 on Friday, locals described the immediate impact that the tragedy has had on them.

"I was honestly shocked – I know it's a basic thing to say but very, very shocked," said one man. "Those families must be crushed."

"Silence came over everyone – we were all looking at each other and shaking our heads," recalled one woman. "It's very upsetting. It's very hard but obviously it's harder for the family – they have to face that loss now."

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On the same programme, Sinn Féin councillor Robert Beasley said he met with parents and children on the beach and registered the shock and sadness on their faces in the wake of the "unbelievable" tragedy.

"I had passed the beach maybe an hour before that and there was not a massive crowd there, maybe about seven or eight hundred people – everybody was building sandcastles and bathing in the water," he said. "There was a swift breeze alright and the water was choppy... but it's not what you expect to happen.

"People were shocked beyond belief. I spoke to many visitors and locals alike and they were very, very upset – the fact that they were there on the beach when the bodies were on display."

Beasley noted that the next couple of days will be especially difficult for the community but "like everything else, time is a healer – but our condolences go out to the people who drowned yesterday evening".

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Featured Image of Irish Coast Guard via Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie