Fr. John Farren: Mother thanked first responders after losing children and husband in fatal Lough Foyle road accident
A priest who administered the last rights to the three victims of last night's tragic road accident in Inishowen has said the sole survivor stopped to thank the emergency services for their efforts before she was taken to hospital.
Three members of a family from Moville, a man aged 49, and his two children, a boy aged 14, and a girl aged six, were fatally injured, when their car skidded off the road and entered Lough Foyle in inclement weather at Three Trees, Quigley's Point, at around 10.20 p.m. on Thursday.
Fr. John Farren, parish priest at Iskaheen, administered the last rights to the three victims and spoke to the mother of the children and wife of the man, aged 45 years, who managed to exit the car and raise the alarm.
"She was completely obviously totally shocked, totally in distress. I was with her when we prayed with the three deceased people.
"In many ways she was completely distressed at the time and then at the end before she was moved to hospital she was going around thanking everybody for what they had done which was an amazing thing in itself that she was thinking of other people as well at that time.
"But it was a completely distressing scene for everybody including all the ambulance, the fire people, the Gardaí and the council workers and undertakers. Everybody there was completely distressed by the whole scene," he said.
Local councillor Terry Crossan, who lives in the area, said his thoughts and prayers went out to the family and friends of the victims, in particular the woman who has lost her children and husband in the tragedy.
"It's a very dark day for Inishowen," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers in the first instance have to go to the wife and mother of the children and to their extended family who now have to go though this grief and bury their husband and children. It's horrendous," he said.
The Sinn Féin councillor said a combination of heavy rain, high winds and a high tide may have been a factor in the fatal accident.
"There was very, very inclement weather at that particular time. There was very heavy rain, fairly high winds, compounded by the fact that there was an extremely high tide.
"The water would have been very well up on the sea wall. In fact I heard that there were waves breaking over the sea wall onto the road," he said.
Colr. Crossan said he wished to thank the people of Quigley's Point who provided assistance when the accident occurred.
"The local people who were first on the scene did a tremendous job in helping to provide illumination to do an initial search of the area until the emergency services actually arrived so it was a tremendous community effort under very, very difficult and traumatic circumstances.
"I would commend them all on their tremendous efforts and also the emergency services - ambulance, guards and helicopter which was also deployed. And Fr. Farren. It's not an easy situation when you come on a scene like that," he reflected.
According to An Garda Síochána the car was travelling from Muff towards Quigley's Point when the driver lost control and the vehicle skidded across the road and down the embankment and plunged into the water.
Gardaí and emergency services attended the scene and the front female passenger was taken to Letterkenny University Hospital with non life threatening injuries.
The bodies of the two males and one female were subsequently taken from the water and removed to Letterkenny University Hospital Mortuary, where post mortems will take place in due course.
Gardaí are appealing for anyone who was travelling on the road from Muff towards Quigley's Point between 10 p.m. and 10.30 p.m. last night, August 20, 2020 or anyone who was may have had sighting of a Black Mitsubishi ASX registration number, 11 DL 1566 in the area, particularly any road users with dash cam footage, to contact Buncrana Garda Station on (074) 9320540, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.