Heartbreak as Aoife (14) dies after sea fall

By David Looby

Published 15/12/2015 | 00:00

The late Aoife Winterlich
The late Aoife Winterlich

THE funeral of the 14-year-old girl who died having been swept into the sea at Hook Head is taking place today (Tuesday) in Dublin.

Aoife Winterlich died on Friday afternoon having been on life support ever since the accident which occurred the previous Sunday afternoon.

Aoife was one of 14 scouts who were walking on the rocks when a wave swept four of the party into the sea.

The Rescue 117 helicopter attended the scene within a matter of minutes and attempted to winch Aoife and a 15-year-old boy from the water into the helicopter. Already unconscious Aoife fell some distance back into the water during the rescue operation, which was carried out in terrible weather and sea conditions.

She never regained consciousness and was cared for in University Hospital Waterford prior to being transferred to Crumlin Hospital in Dublin, where she passed away peacefully on Friday afternoon.

Aoife had only recently joined the 55th South Circular Road scout group.

In a statement, Scouting Ireland extended its deepest sympathies to the teenager's relatives who had lost a much-loved daughter and sister.

'It is with the deepest sadness that we are sharing the news that a fellow scout, who was involved in a tragic accident near Hook Head last weekend has passed away in hospital. In her short time with the group, she was an enthusiastic and popular member who participated fully in all activities,' it said in a Facebook post.

The circumstances of Aoife's death has led to widespread shock, including in Wexford. A review carried out by the Coast Guard found the winch team had no option but to lift both teenagers simultaneously due to the proximity of both to the rocks, in what was an extremely challenging manoeuvre. Scouting Ireland is carrying out its own review of the expedition.

Following a preliminary review, the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) formally initiated an investigation into the accident on Wednesday and will investigate the circumstances related specifically to the air rescue and recovery operation. The AAIU has appealed to any member of the public who was at Hook Head that day who has camera footage relating to the rescue and recovery to contact the AAIU at info@aaiu.ie;

A popular teenager, tributes flooded in for Aoife on social media. A large crowd is expected at her removal at the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Tuesday morning, with the funeral taking place shortly after in Bohernabreena Cemetery. Aoife's family has asked that any donations be made to Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin.

Wexford People

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