Gardaí have launched an investigation following the recovery of the body of a man from a van which was seen entering the river Lee in Cork city in the early hours of the morning.
Investigating officers do not believe foul play was involved in the tragic incident after the crew on board a vessel moored at Kennedy Quay raised the alarm shortly after 3am on Thursday.
St Stephen’s night revellers watched in horror from the opposite quay as emergency services searched the channel frantically for the driver.
The search, involving gardaí, several units of Cork City Fire Brigade, Port of Cork authorities, members of the Crosshaven Coast Guard boat and ground crews, and the Mallow Search and Rescue Unit, which has specialist side-scanning sonar, continued for an hour before it became a recovery operation.
The emergency services had to wait until 7.30am before improved visibility and favourable tidal conditions allowed for the van to be winched from the river bed.
The body of the driver was recovered from inside the vehicle and death was pronounced at the scene. Efforts were underway last night to identify him and contact relatives.
The results of a post-mortem examination, performed at Cork University Hospital (CUH), will be included in the garda file which will be prepared in due course for the coroner’s court.
Meanwhile, the HSE has issued a reminder about the help and supports that are available for people in emotional distress, and in particular for people who feel overwhelmed at this time of the year.
A spokesperson said help and support is just a phone call away by ringing the 24/7 freephone helpline numbers for Pieta House on 1800 247 247; The Samaritans on 116 123 or by texting ‘help’ to 087 2609090; or Childline on 1800 666 666, or by texting ‘talk’ to 50101.
“While the Christmas period is an exciting and happy time for many people, it can also prove to be a very stressful and challenging time for others,” a spokesperson said.
The HSE’s online resource, yourmentalhealth.ie, also provides hints and tips on eating well, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and drinking alcohol responsibility.