RNLI in water safety appeal

File photo of Lough Derg RNLI

The RNLI will launch a renewed drowning prevention campaign today after the third inland water drowning tragedy in a week.

Relatives of drowning victims, who have agreed to act as ambassadors for the campaign, will issue emotional safety appeals, and lifeboat crews will stage a live rescue demonstration on the river Lee near Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork City this morning in an effort to reinforce their water safety message.

The event, which has been planned for some time, comes a day after a man drowned while swimming in the Shannon, near Lough Derg, and less than a week after two teenagers drowned in a disused quarry in Co Clare.

The man who drowned on Tuesday night was one of two people to die suddenly around the same time on separate stretches of Lough Derg.

The first alarm was raised around 6pm when a man in his early 40s got into difficulty while swimming at Ballymacegan, on a cut of the River Shannon which flows into Lough Derg.

It is believed he was among a group of people who had been jumping into the river from a platform and swimming under it to surface on the far side.

The alarm was raised when he failed to surface and his friends began searching frantically for him.

Lough Derg RNLI and members of Killaloe Coast Guard Unit rushed to the scene and began searching the river.

His body was recovered from the water by members of a local sub aqua club at around 10pm close to where he was last seen.

It is believed that he may have become trapped by underwater debris and drowned.

As emergency services were responding to this, a second alarm was raised after a man collapsed just as he left the lake after a swim at Terryglass.

The man, who was named locally last night as John Earley, 56, may have suffered a suspected heart attack.

Emergency services were alerted and paramedics and members of the Lough Derg RNLI crew were tasked to the scene. The RNLI crew travelled by road from their base at nearby Dromineer.

But despite their best efforts, Mr Earley was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Earley, originally from Dublin, had been living in Terryglass for some time and it is understood he swam almost daily in the lake.

He is survived by his wife and two children, a teenage boy and a young daughter.

Gardaí are preparing files for the local coroners and inquests will be held in due course.

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