Lifeguards will, in fact, be taking up duty at beaches around the country next weekend for the first time this year.
The move comes too late, however, for the courageous teenager who died on Saturday evening as she swam to the aid of her sister at a notoriously dangerous channel of water just off Inchydoney beach in west Cork.
“If the lifeguards were on yesterday they would have had the red flags up, warning people not to swim there,” said Inchydoney lifeboat safety officer and vice-chairman Jim L O’Sullivan yesterday.
“From next weekend, there will be three lifeguards on duty, and a boatman.”
The drowning of the 13-year-old from Co Waterford came 20 years after another teenager died while making her way back from Dunmore to Inchydoney.
“It’s a very dangerous place,” said Mr O’Sullivan. “No-one should be swimming there.”
The alarm was raised just after 6pm on Saturday, when the victim is thought to have swum into the dangerous channel to help her 11-year-old sister.
“They were lucky there was someone on the beach, that the other girl was saved,” said Mr O’Sullivan.
Inchydoney was busy at the time and bystanders and gardaí, who were on the scene within minutes, made frantic attempts to revive the teenager after she was pulled out of the water, but their efforts proved fruitless.
“It’s just an awful tragedy,” said Superintendent Pat Maher yesterday.
“We’re just trying to help the family now over the coming days, with regard to the funeral.”
The girl’s body was brought to O’Sullivan’s Funeral Home and given the last rites by Fr Gerard Galvin.
Family members who were in Inchydoney accompanied her to the funeral home and were said to be “distraught” at their loss.
The girl’s mother was in Amsterdam at the weekend and it is believed she was trying to get home yesterday.
Her girl’s body was brought to Cork University Hospital on Saturday night and a post mortem examination was carried out yesterday morning by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster.
“It’s very tragic,” said Fr Galvin yesterday. “It all seemed to happen so quickly.” He said the family’s swimming accessories were still lying around in the aftermath of the tragedy. “Her beach togs were propping up her head.”
A coroner’s inquest will be held into the girl’s death in due course.
Winds in the area were blowing at force six and seven on Saturday evening, worsening the currents in the channel.
Vincent O’Donovan of Courtmacsherry Lifeboat, which was at the scene within minutes, said the girl’s body had already been taken from the water.
“We continued over to the area to carry out a search for any other persons that might have been in the water,” said Mr O’Donovan. “Conditions were blustery at the time; it was really windy out there, and that would be a difficult enough area anyway.”