Tragedy struck twice in Donegal this weekend, when a Polish national who was fishing at Bundoran was swept into the sea and the body of a local man was recovered from a lake in Fanad.
Krzysztof Dzialak, who was aged in his 40s and living at Church Street in Enniskillen, was fishing at Rougey Rocks in Bundoran with a friend early Saturday evening when a wave swept him out to sea just before 6pm.
Bundoran RNLI were immediately alerted and on the scene within minutes. The lifeboat crew rescued the man from the water and brought him to shore. He was transferred by ambulance to Sligo General Hospital where he passed away later that night.
Tragedy struck again on Sunday afternoon, when the body of Peter Clinton, Ballylar, Fanad was recovered at Killy Lake.
Concerns for the safety of the 63-year-old single man arose after his car was noticed near the lake. His body was recovered after a brief search and the remains removed to Letterkenny General Hospital.
Gardai say there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and foul play is not suspected. “We are not looking to interview anybody else in connection with this date at this stage,” a garda spokesperson confirmed yesterday.
Cllr. Liam Blaney said it was with great regret that he heard of this tragedy. “Our hearts go out to the Clinton family who are held in high esteem here. Peter was a farmer, who was well known for always wearing a cap and who was always out and about on his vintage blue Major tractor, which he was very proud of having restored.”
Funeral arrangements to be confirmed pending notification of family abroad.
Town Cllr. Philip McGlynn, general manager of the Great Northern Hotel, was the man who contacted the emergency services in Bundoran on Saturday.
He was alerted to the tragedy unfolding when he saw a local man, who had been walking Rougey, come running towards the hotel, out of breath.
Cllr. McGlynn told the Donegal Democrat/People’s Press: “I called the emergency services and was amazed with how quickly the were able to access the scene. The local lifeboat was literally there within minutes and I have to say the rescue helicopter from Sligo was there ten minutes afterwards. “We helped guide the lifeboat to the spot where the man entered the water. To see the calmess of these people in times of high drama was comforting and they were able to retrieve the man from the water.
“It was a terrible tragedy for the young man and his family and our thoughts go out to his friends and family. But I have to say that the response to the tragedy was nothing short of impressive. The people who volunteer for emergency services like the RNLI are there to help all of us in times of need. On this occasion, it ended in tragedy, but services like this are really essential and I pay tribute to their work at the weekend.”
Cllr McGlynn said that while weather conditions were wet throughout Saturday, they were not so bad that you would have advised someone not to go fishing in the spot they did.
Thomas Pringle, TD, said the tragedy highlights the need to improve awareness among foreign nationals of the dangers of fishing.
“This is an awful tragedy for this man and his family and friends in Poland and here in Ireland.
“This is something that has been talked about a great deal in many of the coastal communities along Ireland’s western seaboard, the fact that some foreign nationals appear to take more risks when fishing along the coast. This is very much an anecdotal observation, but I believe there needs to be some sort of public awareness campaign which can reach people of all nationalities, but in particular, people from eastern European countries. “We need to get the message out there that there are serious dangers involved in fishing off the rocks along the Irish coast.”
In September 2009, a Czech national living in Cavan was swept out to sea while shore fishing at Glencolmcille. He had tied himself to a boulder about nine metres from the waters edge and was swept out to sea when the rope frayed and eventually snapped.