Brother and sister drown as man’s son looks on from Kerry beach

Brother and sister drown as man’s son looks on from Kerry beach

A brother and sister died in a swimming tragedy in Kerry as the man’s shocked teenage son looked on from the beach.

Their bodies were recovered from the water following a major air-sea rescue operation off Men’s Beach in Ballybunion as gardaí and members of the emergency services tried to comfort the grief-stricken boy and trace relatives to care for him.

The victims, the man was in his 50s and his sister was in her late 40s, were understood to have been holidaying in the area from Roscommon.

Eyewitnesses described heartbreaking scenes on the beach as the boy watched the tragedy unfold.

Lifeguards on duty on the beach spotted a man in difficulty in the water at around 6pm.

They raised the alarm and rushed into the water to help him as officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue coordination centre on Valentia Island triggered and then coordinated a major search and rescue operation.

They tasked several assets including the Ballybunion unit of the Irish Coast Guard, the Ballybunion community inshore rescue boat, and the RNLI lifeboat near Kilrush, in Co Clare, about 25-minutes away by boat, to the scene.

RNLI crew and Rescue 115 on scene.

Units of the National Ambulance Service, the Coast Guard’s Shannon-based Rescue 115 helicopter and the north Cork-based air ambulance, Helimed 92, were also tasked as gardaí rushed to the scene.

It is understood that as lifeguards took the man in critical condition from the water, his son told them that his aunt was also in difficulty in the water.

The lifeguards brought the man ashore where medical attention was rendered, including CPR, as the search continued for the woman.

However, the man was pronounced dead on the beach by paramedics.

The woman was recovered in critical condition from the water a short time later by the crew of the inshore rescue boat, very close to where she had last been seen, and she was also taken ashore for medical attention.

However, she did not respond to resuscitation efforts and was also pronounced dead at the scene.

The bodies of both deceased were then removed from the scene by ambulance to the mortuary in University Hospital Kerry in Tralee where post mortem examinations are expected to take place.

‘It has cast a gloom over the entire place’

Gardaí took witness statements from people who were in the area at the time and it is understood that from initial inquiries, they are treating the matter as a tragic accident and a file will be prepared for the coroner.

TJ McCarron, the officer in charge of Ballybunion Coast Guard Unit, said people have been left shocked and numbed by the double drowning tragedy.

“It has cast a gloom over the entire place. It was very hard on the public who saw this unfolding, on all those involved in the rescue services. It is a very hard thing to cope with. Our thoughts go out to the young boy who saw this unfold, and to the families of the victims,” he said.

Gardaí said the alarm was raised at around 6pm after reports that at least one person was in difficulty in the water.

A local source described weather conditions in the area at the time as reasonably rou

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