independent

Tuesday 17 September 2019

Tragic end to frantic search for missing man

CAR AND PASSENGERS PLUNGE INTO WATER

FINTAN LAMBE

GARDAI HAVE appealed for witnesses to a horror crash in Courtown last Friday night, in which a young Dublin man lost his life, after the vehicle in which he was travelling with two others, smashed through a wall and plunged into the water below.

Mark Farrell (19), from the Cushlawn Estate in Tallaght, but staying locally, lost his life in the submerged vehicle, while the two other occupants managed to swim to safety.

The crash occurred shortly before 10.30 p.m. on a stormy and wet Friday night, after the vehicle failed to make the turn at Seamount, and crashed through the stone harbour wall, just above the steps, and fell down to the water.

Emergency services including Courtown Coastguard, local Gardai, ambulance and fire crews, were quickly on the scene. Courtown Lifeboat was launched at 10.35 p.m. and quickly located the Nissan Patrol, with the assistance of the emergency services on the harbour side.

Aine Stafford, PRO of Courtown Lifeboat said that one of the crew members entered the water at the location of the submerged vehicle, and the Lifeboat then proceeded to carry out a thorough search of the harbour in challenging weather conditions.

'After 48 hours of heavy rain, quite a lot of debris had washed down the two rivers that enter Courtown Harbour and there was a large swell coming in from the sea,' she said.

Unfortunately, some time later, the Lifeboat crew recovered the body of the young man from the submerged car. His remains were then taken to Courtown RNLI Lifeboat Station where he was pronounced deceased by the local Caredoc Service.

Gardai have appealed for witnesses to the crash, but were unable to go into details of the circumstances surrounding the crash for 'operational reasons.'

The 16-year-old and 20-year-old local men who survived the crash have been interviewed as part of the investigation and follow up interviews are also expected.

The crane was called in to remove the vehicle from the harbour, and the scene was preserved for a technical examination the following day. A file will be prepared for the DPP and the coroner in relation to the matter.

Local Councillor Robert Ireton, who witnessed the recovery operation, said there is a complete air of shock and disbelief in the local area. He knew the young man who died, as he had been a regular visitor to the area, staying with his grandparents in a local mobile home park.

'He was a very nice young fellow,' he said. 'He was well known for pushing his grandfather around in a wheelchair, from the time he was thirteen.'

'He lost his father some years back,' he added. 'Everyone in Courtown is very shocked. The emergency services got there very quickly and the Gardai, the Coastguard, the Fire Brigade and the Ambulance all did a very professional job.'

' The response from the RNLI was something special as well,' he added.

' They were absolutely excellent and so dignified. Everyone pulled together despite the inclement weather. Everyone worked to bring it to closure as quickly as possible to ensure there was no search needed afterwards. The Gardai in particular were exceptional. Everyone stepped up to the mark.'

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