Teen who fell from building looked like ‘falling parcel’

A WOMAN who saw a teenager fall 40 feet to his death said she at first thought she was looking at a plummeting parcel.

Marguerite Beattie was describing the fleeting seconds after Joseph Olwill, 17, plunged to his death from the top of a three-story building at the end of a surfing holiday in Bundoran, Co Donegal.

Ms Beattie, from Belfast, was on holiday with her partner Chris Torbitt, their children and two grand-daughters, in a house directly opposite the tragedy, at 2.30am yesterday.

Ms Beattie said: “I must say the first I saw of the bundle was when it was passing the top window on the third floor. But when I discovered it was a body, I realised he must have fallen from the roof.”

Her partner was alerted by then by Ms Beattie and by noise from the street.

By that stage, two young men Mr Torbitt believed to be friends of Mr Olwill, were at the locked iron gate leading into the yard where the body lay at Station Road.

“The young men were shouting to him to move, to get his body moving… They were screaming ‘Joe, Joe, move, move a foot, move your body’. They were desperately trying to establish that he was still alive. I shouted across the street that they should phone an ambulance and they said they had already done that,” he said.

Meanwhile, staff from adjoining nightclubs arrived. One man set about applying CPR for about 20 minutes but to no avail.

Gardaí said a doctor pronounced the young man dead at about 3.20am.

Gardaí and the owners of the Tyrconnell Apartments where the accident happened were unclear how many were in the group from Dublin, which hired two €400-a-week apartments, owned by Conor McEniff, for a week.

The group, mainly in their late teens, moved in on Thursday of last week and were due to depart yesterday. A number were on a surfing holiday and attended a surf school.

A group of about eight teens were still in one of the apartments yesterday, shortly before taking a bus back to Dublin. One said: “There was a big group of us. We’re all friends.”

Gardaí have established that most of the group were in one apartment within the building until about 2.30am and three or four went out into the corridor to go into the other.

They discovered the door was locked and none of them could find a key. Two of them went across the main street to Mack’s Amusements, also owned by Mr McEniff, and were accompanied back by a member of staff who had a master key. It is believed the pair were admitted to the apartment.

Meanwhile, Mr Olwill, who attends St Aidan’s CBS in Collins Avenue, Dublin, had remained in the third-floor corridor and decided he would exit a window there and climb onto the roof to go to the far side and access his apartment through an open window.

He climbed onto the wet roof, managed to crawl to the top of the slant and was already on his way down the opposite slant when tragedy happened.

An older brother was asleep at the time of the accident. Members of the group decided not to awaken him, because they didn’t know how to break the news, so he didn’t learn of his brother’s death until several hours later.

Joseph Olwill was the youngest in a family of four at Shanliss Way, Santry, Dublin. His parents Patrick and Anne travelled to Bundoran yesterday and later to Sligo General Hospital where a postmortem was being carried out.

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