August 16, 2022

A brother and sister are suspected of drowning while trying to swim off the Irish coast on Thursday.

The 50-year-old man and 62-year-old woman were pronounced dead after recovering from the waters at Ballybunion Beach in County Kerry in southwest Ireland.

The incident has been described as a “horrific tragedy” and post-mortem examinations are scheduled for the siblings soon.

Emergency services were called ashore Thursday night after they were alerted by someone understood to be a teenage relative of the siblings.

The Irish Coast Guard said in a statement that the report came shortly after 5 pm about a person experiencing difficulty in Ballybunion.

“An extensive search and rescue operation was conducted using the Shannon-based R115 Coast Guard helicopter, the Ballybunion community rescue boat in Ireland, and the Kilrush RNLI, all of whom have been tasked to emerge,” the statement read.

Shortly thereafter, another person was pulled out of the water by Ballybunion Community Rescue Boat Ireland.

The man and woman were pronounced dead at the scene. The search was halted after it was confirmed that no other people were missing.

“The Coast Guard expresses its sympathy to the families of the two victims.”

Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan said the deaths were a “desperate tragedy” and expressed his “sincere sympathies to the families” of the victims and to any witnesses.

“From our point of view here at Co Limerick Ballybunion is an extension of our own venue,” Limerick TD said on RTE’s Today with Claire Byrne Show.

“We know this place very well. Some of my extended family were in Ballybunion and saw the chaos that broke out.

“It is a desperate tragedy. There is really nothing you can put into words to describe the bleak darkness that exists around North Kerry and the area west of Limerick right now.”

Sinn Fein Council member Robert Beasley described the incident as a “horrific tragedy” that shocked the community.

The council member, who lives near Ballybunion Beach, told the Palestinian News Agency: “There were a lot of people on the beach at the time, maybe 600 or 700 people.

“I met a lot of people on the cliff top and when they realized what was happening, the men, women and children were leaving in droves and they were in horrible grief.

“An hour and a half ago, when I passed by, people were happy, building sandcastles and generally having fun on the beach.

“Two deaths in the space of two minutes on the water. It is terrible – a terrible tragedy. People are in incredible shock.”

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