Agony for Strabane family after drowning tragedy in Vietnam

Editorial image.
Editorial image.

A Strabane family have been plunged into grief after a drowning tragedy in Vietnam.

Dominic Woods, aged 53, died after getting into difficulties while swimming.

Mr Woods, who had been living in Hertfordshire in England, had been in the Asian country with his Vietnamese wife visiting her family for Christmas when the tragedy happened.

Fr Declan Boland, the family’s Parish Priest, revealed that Dominic had been due to return home to visit his family in Strabane next week.

Speaking to the ‘Derry Journal’ today, Fr Boland said: “Dominic and his wife had been out in Vietnam visiting her family for Christmas because one of her parents hadn’t been well. He had been in touch with his mother just a few days before and he was due home in Strabane on January 10th.

“Apparently he was swimming in a designated area because there were lifeguards. He got into difficulty in a strong current and by the time the people got to him he couldn’t be saved.”

Fr Boland has been helping to console the Woods family. Dominic’s mother Kathleen, a native of Swatragh in Co Derry, lives in Courtrai Park, Strabane. His son Damian is married with a young family in Ballybofey, Co. Donegal.

Fr Boland said: “His mother Kathleen lives in Courtrai Park just beside the chapel [Church of the Immaculate Conception]. She is awaiting the body home which, because of distance, time of the year, language and all sorts of international protocol, could be two to three weeks.”

Mr Woods’ late father, Peter, died in his 40s. Some of his siblings live locally, and one is in England.

Fr Boland said: “The family are very close and they are pulling together to try to expedite the remains home. It is very sad for the family and this interminable wait adds to their grief and their agony but the community are rallying around them. Their mother is very strong; she is a woman of deep faith and the community are supporting her admirably.”