Community in shock after friends die in river tragedy

One of the men who died after the car he was travelling in was swept along a river on Christmas morning had already lost a sister in a drowning accident a number of years ago.

Community in shock after friends die in river tragedy

A Garda investigation into the deaths of the two friends, named Declan Davitt, aged 26, and Martin Needham, 27, is continuing.

The men died when a four-wheel drive was crossing the Carrowniskey River near Louisburgh in Co Mayo at approximately 2.30am on Christmas Day.

A third man, aged 19, who had also been in the vehicle, managed to escape and raise the alarm. Members of the Garda Water Unit later recovered both bodies.

Post-mortems on the bodies of the two men were due to take place yesterday evening and funeral arrangements have already been announced.

Mr Needham, Aillemore, Killadoon, will be laid to rest tomorrow following a funeral Mass at the Church of the Holy Family in Killeen.

Mr Davitt of Curradavitt, Killadoon, be buried on Friday following noon Mass at the same church.

Mr Davitt’s death notice mentions that he was pre-deceased by his sister Kathleen. It is understood she died in a drowning accident in Galway seven years ago.

Rescue Services at Carrowniskey, Louisburgh, Co. Mayo during the search for two men who went missing after their vehicle entered the water. Photo: Keith Heneghan
Rescue Services at Carrowniskey, Louisburgh, Co. Mayo during the search for two men who went missing after their vehicle entered the water. Photo: Keith Heneghan

It is believed Mr Needham, who has four sisters, and Mr Davitt are from farming families and that the third passenger who managed to escape also lives locally.

It is known locally that the river is typically one with a low water level and is regularly crossed.

However, the weather in Co Mayo in the early hours of Christmas morning was inclement, with heavy rain all day on Christmas Eve and strong winds likely to have swelled the river.

Gardaí were still investigating the scene yesterday, including checking tyre marks to see exactly where the SUV entered the water.

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, said he knew the families of the two men.

“People throughout Mayo are shocked by this terrible tragedy. The community in Louisburgh shares the grief of the families and will support them in the difficult times ahead,” he said

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