Gardai investigating boat accident which left girl, 12, seriously injured

Gardai investigating boat accident which left girl, 12, seriously injured

Gardai are investigating the circumstances in which a 12-year old girl was seriously injured when she became trapped under a rowing boat after it capsized on the River Shannon, last Saturday.

The incident occurred at the Thomond Salmon Weir, Limerick, around 10am.

The row boat which overturned in the river, was carrying five members of Athlunkard Boat Club, including four girls and a boy.

The boat was been chaperoned by a support boat at the time, the club said.

It remained unclear as to what exactly caused the boat to capsize.

It was also still not clear if anyone on board was wearing life jackets.

The girl’s family have been keeping a vigil at her side in Temple Street Children’s Hospital, after she was transferred there Saturday evening, having initially been treated at University Hospital Limerick.

Limerick Superintendent Derek Smart said the investigation was ongoing and that he had also referred the matter to the Marine Casualty Investigation Board.

It’s expected the MCIB, who investigate matters involving casualties on Irish waters, will begin looking into why the incident occurred from Monday.

The injured girl became trapped beneath the row boat after her hair was entangled in the outriggers which hold the oars in place on the boat.

Firefighters attached to Limerick City Fire and Rescue Service, who happened to be carrying out a routine patrol of the river at the time, came across the overturned boat, while simultaneously receiving a Coast Guard alert about the incident.

Firefighters cut the girl free from underneath the boat and performed emergency first aid on their boat en route to a nearby slipway where the girl was met by paramedics who helped stabilise her.

The girl remains in a “critical condition”, reliable sources said.

The row boat, which is believed to have been badly damaged in the incident, and which will be examined by investigators, was removed from the water at low tide around 9.30pm Saturday night.

Eye witness Danny Ryan said he will be “forever haunted” by hearing friends of the girl “screaming” for him to help them as he telephoned emergency services from an area close to the riverbank.

“I could see the boat turned over and a girl waving and screaming. My stomach is sick over it. It was scary,” Mr Ryan said.

“I’m haunted all day. It’s the screams. I can still hear the girls screaming, ‘help, help help’”.

Mr Ryan, 49 said the current in the river at the time was “going very fast”.

A statement from Athlunkard Boat Club, posted on their Facebook page, Sunday evening, read: “There was a serious incident on the river Shannon yesterday morning where four teenage girls and one teenage boy from our club were in a rowing boat that overturned.”

“They were accompanied by one of our safety boats at the time.”

“One of these girls was transferred to hospital following the incident. We are monitoring the situation and are in constant contact with the family and Rowing Ireland.”

“Our thoughts are now focused on supporting the family, the girls, and boy who were in the boat at the time and our club members.”

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