Mother and grandfather relive their efforts to revive drowning toddler

THE efforts to revive a toddler who died after falling into a water tank were recalled at an inquest the coroner called “one of the most tragic accidents I have ever come across”.

Drogheda Coroner’s Court heard how Patrick McDonnell, 20 months, had gone to collect eggs with his mother Caroline and grandfather James on the family farm at Roughgrange, Donore, Co Meath, on October 19, 2010.

Patrick was playing beside his mother as she sorted eggs, when at some point he went out of sight.

“I started to call out,” Caroline told the inquest. “I went down to the slurry pit but there was no sign.”

The court was told that the McDonnells referred to the 180sq ft water tank on the farm as “the slurry pit”.

Caroline checked at the house in case Patrick had gone there, and James joined in the search.

The inquest heard how James got a stick and went to the tank.

“The stick caught and Patrick came up,” said Caroline. “We took Patrick out and tried to revive him. I was trying [CPR] and stuff was coming out of him.”

Paramedics made further efforts to revive Patrick but he suffered a heart attack en route to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.

He was pronounced dead after all efforts by medical staff, including a consultant in emergency medicine, were unsuccessful at resuscitating him.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Ronan Maguire said: “This is one of the most tragic accidents I have ever come across as coroner. He was very young and was just being a kid. It is just an appalling tragedy.

“Any words I say are grossly inadequate to describe the loss the family has suffered, you have our heartfelt sympathy.”

More in this section