A woman who witnessed the devastation of the Buncrana pier tragedy and who was instrumental in saving the life of baby Rioghnach-Ann that night, has paid tribute to Lough Swilly RNLI.
Stephanie Knox and her partner Davitt Walsh were at Buncrana pier on the evening of 20th March, during which a car containing six members of the same family got into difficulty.
Ms Knox and Mr Walsh desperately tried to save them and succeeded in saving the life of baby Rioghnach-Ann. Despite mammoth efforts, her father, Sean McGrotty, his sons Mark and Evan, their grandmother Ruth Daniels and her daughter Jodie-Lee sadly passed away.
Stephanie told the Journal as she witnessed the night “unfold” before her eyes, she saw “many emergency services work their very hardest to help the victims, including the Lough Swilly RNLI.”
She described the voluntary organisation as “unbelievable” and said they “worked so hard” on the night. She added they need every penny they get and “deserve every penny.”
Stephanie and her family wanted to thank them for the “amazing work they do” so we, along with the help of her father, Billy Knox, many friends and family, as well as the wider community, have raised money recently for them.
Stephanie recently went to visit the crew, on what was also the occasion of her birthday.
She and her parents were treated to a tour of their new Shannon class lifeboat, which they received earlier this year and the crew even gave Stephanie a birthday present.
Thanking them, as well as Lifeboat Operations Manager John McCarter and also all who supported her, Stephanie said she was “overwhelmed” by the visit and “glad” she raised the money for this “amazing organisation”.
Mr McCarter said they were delighted to meet Stephanie and accept the money she had raised on their behalf.
He added it was “very generous” of both her and her family to give their time to raise the funds, in recognition of the work they do. Mr McCarter said the RNLI is a voluntary organisation, funded by the generosity of the general public. He told how the organisation in Inishowen and Donegal is “blessed” to have a very supportive community who always “rally behind us and support us very strongly.”