A 15-YEAR-OLD boy was feared drowned in the River Lee in Cork city after a fun evening turned to tragedy last night.
The search was continuing late into the night for the youth, believed to be from the Fairhill area of the city’s northside, who got into difficulty in the water along with a teenage girl.
It is believed they had been trying to swim across to a pontoon in the river between Daly’s Bridge, known locally as the shakey bridge, and Fitzgerald’s Park at 8.20pm.
The girl got back to the river bank where she was helped ashore by a garda, who had been on motorcycle patrol in the area when the alarm was raised.
She was understood not to have been seriously injured but was highly distressed and taken to hospital.
But the boy was still missing and dozens of people gathered on the river bank while the search operation continued, with darkness falling on the gloomy scene at about 10.30pm.
It is believed the two teenagers were among a group of young people from the city’s northside who had been playing on the riverbank near the park in the late evening sunshine.
Water levels on the river were high when the tragedy happened, as the tide upriver from the mouth of the Lee in Cork harbour was starting to turn.
Two units of Cork City Fire Brigade were still at the scene late last night, while two of the service’s water rescue boats and Irish Coastguard boats scoured the water. They were assisted by an Irish Coastguard search and rescue helicopter using heat-seeking equipment, which arrived from Waterford within an hour of the tragedy. The search operation was also aided by an RNLI lifeboat and members of the Naval Service sub-aqua unit.
The shakey bridge is a popular summer swimming spot for local youngsters, spanning the river’s north channel near Fitzgerald’s Park. It provides a pedestrian link from Sunday’s Well and the northside suburbs to the park and the Mardyke walkway.
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