A mother has lost five family members all at once when a car they were in plunged over a pier into the sea. The woman has said that the only thing which keeps her going now is her 4-month-old baby daughter, who was saved when her father spent his last breath passing her to a good Samaritan who witnessed the tragedy.
That mother’s name is Louise James, and on Sunday at approximately 7:15 p.m., she lost her partner, Sean McGrotty, their two young sons, 12-year-old Mark and 8-year-old Evan, as well as her mother, Ruth Daniels, 59, and her 15 -year-old sister, Jodi Lee Daniels, when their car slipped into the sea at a pier in Buncrana, County Donegal, Ireland.
Authorities believe that the car may have slipped on algae as it was about to do a three point turn and that is what caused it to fall off the end of the pier and sink. Those who witnessed the event called the police and BBC News revealed that former soccer player, Davitt Walsh, was the good Samaritan who stripped down to his underwear and swam out to the rapidly sinking car and managed to rescue baby Rionaghac-Ann McGrotty. Walsh said that when he reached the car it was to find a frantic Sean who handed him the little girl and asked him to “grab the baby, grab the baby,” as the water poured into the sinking car the father’s last was to save at least one of his children. Davitt was able to hold the baby above his head and swim back to shore.
Both the good Samaritan and baby Rionaghac-Ann were taken to a nearby hospital. Walsh ended up being treated for several cuts he had sustained in the water, as well as for shock. When the police and rescue personnel arrived on scene, a coastguard helicopter was on a search for the car, and any other survivors with a spotlight, but unfortunately, there were no other survivors. Locals in their fishing boats were also involved in the rescue and the police, ambulances, and fire brigade were also on standby at the scene where the five family members died. The coast guard recovered the bodies.
Reportedly, Louise McGrotty, who is 35, had just spoken to her family not half an hour before they died in the tragic accident. According to Mirror UK, the family priest has spoken to the media on behalf of the, now, single mother and she has said that the rescued baby girl is her “reason to go on” after the death of so many of her loved ones on Sunday. The baby girl is reportedly doing very well.
“Louise said to me, ‘I have lost everyone, except little Rionaghac-Ann’. She said ‘Rionaghac-Ann is my reason to go on… Words fail me to describe the depth of pain and the vastness of this tragedy. I am 43 years a priest and nothing compares to this.”
Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, said that the community will surely be rallying around the family in support and their priest, Father Paddy O’Kane confirmed that they have already begun to support the family in their time of tragedy. Members of the family are too upset to speak at this time, but a steady stream of visitors are pouring out their condolences, though they too seem to be at a loss for words. A book of condolences is open to the public in Derry following the pier tragedy.
The bodies of the five family members was removed from the funeral home this morning, and police blocked roads in order to aid the procession of hearses taking the caskets to the home, where Louise James lived with her family. Dozens of family member and friends followed the hearses.
The funeral service for all five family members that died in the tragedy will occur at 2 p.m. and then all five will be laid to rest together in the City Cemetery. There are no words to describe the heartache the family is suffering from.
[Image via Esherez/Shutterstock]