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Buncrana Pier Tragedy mother hopes inquest is over soon

Buncrana Pier Tragedy mother hopes inquest is over soon

Sean McGrotty, 49, his two sons Mark, 12 and Evan, 8, his partner's mother, Ruth Daniels, 59, and her daughter, Jodie-Lee Tracey, who was 14, died when their auto slid off the slipway and into Lough Swilly on Sunday 20 March 2016.

There was no suggestion the speed of the response was inappropriate.

The auto was bobbing in the water yards from the slipway, slowly floating.

He said he could hear people and children screaming but wasn't sure how many people were in the auto.

The water started to gush into the auto, I still had the boys hand but the vehicle went under the water, nose first.

Mr Crawford was waiting for emergency services and could hear sirens, but then the nose of the auto suddenly dipped, the back of the vehicle came up and it sank to the bottom.

Mr Crawford said say it took 12 minutes from the time he called the emergency services until the auto sank.

First responders arrived at the scene within 4 minutes of being notified of the tragedy, but were too late to save any more lives.

He said there was green algae on the slipway which was very slippy.

The inquest is being held in Buncrana's Lake of Shadows Hotel.

Her mother, Louise James, has said her daughter was her only reason to go on living.

Mr McGrotty's daughter, four-month-old Rioghnach-Ann, was the sole survivor of the tragedy.

Mr Walsh, who has since been awarded a gold medal for bravery at sea, was able to swim back to shore with the baby.

Mr Crawford said he could hear children crying.

When he realised the situation he swam straight to the auto.

Mr McGrottty passed his infant daughter out of the window of the Audi Q7 moments before it sank.

He said at that stage water that had been seeping in turned into a surge.

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Coroner Denis McCauley told Mr Walsh he had never heard such harrowing evidence.

"I shouted to the driver, "you need to get everybody out of the car".

He described he tried to help a boy escape from a broken window in the auto, but lost the grip on his hand when he got stuck as the vehicle sank.

He said the vehicle at this stage was still largely out of the water as he was looking up to him from the water and it was a "full reach" to get the baby, but added that the auto was at a tilt by this stage, with the front a lot more submerged.

"I said help was on the way", he said.

When he made it back to the slipway and handed the baby to his girlfriend, he collapsed with exhaustion and had to be helped from the slippery surface.

"Stephanie said to me, "Go do something, go do something, Davitt".

It was freezing cold and he suffered cuts to his feet which he was treated for in hospital.

Irish police Sergeant Mark Traynor said gardai and the RNLI were on the scene within four or five minutes of the call it received but by that stage there was no sign of the auto.

The man who rescued a baby from a auto during the Buncrana Pier tragedy has spoken of how he tried to help a second child escape from the vehicle just before it sank.

Sgt Traynor said a life buoy was used during the incident.

The emergency services then arrived and he saw attempts to resuscitate one person that he was told was a woman.

No prosecutions were taken in the case.

"One of the adults looked to be trying to swim".

At the time of the tragedy James was returning from a weekend hen party in Liverpool when she learned about the deaths.

Ms James was in England at the time of the tragedy.

She rang her brother Nathan, asking had her mother come home, and he said she had not.


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