By David Raleigh
Update 4.50pm: The 28-year-old man critically injured in this morning's boating accident has died in hospital. More here.
A 28-year old man is in a critical condition, and three others are also in hospital, following a boating tragedy on the Lower River Shannon this morning.
Four men who were reportedly fishing on a small rowing boat on the river, at World's End, Castleconnell, Co Limerick, got into difficulty on the water and their boat capsized.
It is understood two of the men, who are all from Castleconnell, were trapped underneath the boat for a period after it became wedged against a line of trees growing in the middle of the river.
One of the men is said to have phoned emergency services at around 4.25am.
After the 999 emergency call was received, a major rescue operation swung into action involving crews from Limerick City and County Fire Service, Gardaí, Kilaloe Coast Guard, Limerick Marine Search and Rescue Service, and the Shannon-based Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter.
A source in the emergency services said: "Upon arrival, Swiftwater Rescue Technicians from Limerick Fire Service discovered four men in the water after their boat had capsized. The men were found clinging to their boat and stuck in debris."
"The multi agency rescue operation involving Fire Service, Gardai, Paramedics and Coast Guard (including Rescue Helicopter 115) took over three hours due to the positioning of the men in the water.
"All four were rescued and treated on scene for hypothermia with one man's condition described as very serious.
The four men were rushed by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick (UHL) where one is in a critical condition, and the remaining three are said to be stable.
Gardaí at Henry Street are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.