A local priest has spoken of the devastation across Derry and Donegal following the tragic events which unfolded in Buncrana last night and claimed the lives of five people.
Fr Michael Canny was speaking as reports emerged that those who lost their lives come from Creggan, Galliagh and Ballymagroarty areas of Derry.
Gardai have now confirmed that the bodies of a man, a woman, two boys and a second female whose age has yet to be determined have been recovered, with post mortems expected to take place at Letterkenny later.
Eyewitnesses meanwhile have relayed how the car they were in appeared to slide off the slipway at Buncrana Pier into the waters of Lough Swilly as the driver tried desperately to call for aid.
A man from Kerrykeel is understand to have swam out and managed to save the life of a baby girl who is now the sole survivor from among those who were in the vehicle.
Fr Canny said his thoughts and prayers were with those relatives trying to come to terms with the devastating news today.
“Our hearts go out to them,” Fr Canny said. “Everybody is stunned and people just can’t believe that this terrible tragedy happened at such a beautiful spot.
“Our thoughts are also with the man who witnessed this unfold and all those who made heroic efforts to save the lives of those in the car.”
A Garda spokesman meanwhile has confirmed that the tragedy unfolded at around 7.30pm last night.
He said: “Gardaí, Emergency Services and the Coast Guard attended the scene following reports that a car had entered the water at Buncrana Pier.
“A search of the area was carried out and five bodies were recovered from the water, three males, one adult/two children and two females, one adult and the age of the second to be established.
“The five bodies were taken to Letterkenny General Hospital where post mortems are to be arranged.”
He also confirmed: “A baby girl was rescued from the car, with the assistance of a bystander. The baby is currently in a stable condition at Letterkenny General Hospital.”
Gardaí are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information is asked to contact Buncrana Garda Station on (00353)74 9320540, the Garda Confidential Line, 1800 666111 or any Garda Station.