A 22-year-old man drowned in the River Lee in Cork city overnight after trying to swim out to a small wooden boat.
His body was recovered from the river at Pope’s Quay at 8.50am today by emergency service personnel. The man is believed to be a student from Dublin who is living in Cork.
A second man in his 20s, from north Cork, survived the incident, which occurred at 3.50am when the river was at high tide. Both men got into difficulty trying swim to the dinghy-sized boat that was anchored in the river.
They swam to the boat but it capsized when they tried to board it and the man drowned while trying to swim back. The second man managed to swim to safety. He was treated at the Mercy University Hospital but has since been discharged.
He was not physically harmed but was very shaken.
A garda spokesman said: “There can sometimes be strong currents on the river and it is certainly more hazardous at night-time.”
The boat, owned by a local Christian group, has been anchored on the river for the past three to four weeks. The vessel has the words ‘Jesus Heals All Hearts’ written along the side of it. Head of the group, Jerry O’Mahony, said: “I am devastated by what has happened. The boat was put on the river to help people. It has the message of God written on it. We couldn’t have foreseen that this would happen.”
Navy divers were due to begin a search this morning, but the body was spotted at low tide 10 metres from where the boat had overturned.
Three units of the fire service and the fire control unit arrived on the scene to carryout the recovery using a floating stretcher and fire engine crane.
The family of the drowned man were travelling to the city today to identify the body.
A postmortem was due to be carried out on the body today at Cork University Hospital.
The Garda spokesman said the exact circumstances surrounding the death were still being examined this morning.
Article courtesy of The Evening Echo newspaper.