Father and two children die as car enters water

A father and his two children have died after their car skidded off a road in County Donergal and plunged into Lough Foyle late on Thursday night.

They have been named locally as 49-year-old John Mullan from Moville, his 14-year-old son Thomas and his six-year-old daughter Amelia.

The children’s mother, who was also in the car, managed to get out of the vehicle and call for help after the crash at Three Trees, Quigley’s Point.

She was taken to hospital.

A priest who went to comfort the mother after the crash described it as a “traumatic” scene.

“It’s a terribly tragic incident, it’s just beyond words,” said Fr John Farren, parish priest of Iskaheen in County Donegal.

He said he prayed with the mother at the scene of the crash for a short time and that she was “hysterical from grief”.

“She was completely shocked… totally distressed, and I was with her when we prayed with the three deceased,” Fr Farren said.

The priest said the father worked as a businessman in their hometown of Moville while the mother is a front-line worker.

She was taken to Letterkenny hospital where she is being treated for non-life threatening injuries.

‘Lost control’

The crash happened at about 22:20 local time on Thursday.

In a statement, Gardaí (Irish police) said the car had been travelling from the village of Muff in Donegal towards Quigley’s Point before the crash.

They said the driver “lost control and the vehicle skidded across the road and down the embankment and plunged into the water”.

The mother was sitting in the front passenger seat and both children were in the rear seat of the car.

After she got out of the vehicle and called for help, Gardaí and emergency services arrived at the scene and brought her to hospital.

“It was a completely distressing scene for everybody, including all the ambulance and fire people and the Gardaí, the council workers and the undertakers,” Fr Farren said.

He added that despite the mother’s grief, she expressed her gratitude to all the people who came to help her family.

“At the end, before she was moved to hospital, she was going round thanking everybody for what they had done, which was an amazing thing in itself that she was thinking of other people.”

‘Popular people’

The deaths have left a sombre atmosphere in Moville town.

Eamon McLaughlin, who lives in the area, described the family as “popular, good-living people”.

He told BBC Radio Foyle that everyone is praying for them.

Another woman said a local resident was part of the rescue team and he did not realise the bodies he helped pull out of the water were his neighbours.

The bodies were taken to the hospital’s mortuary where post mortems will take place.

There was heavy rain in the area at the time of the crash.

Gardaí have appealed to anyone who saw a Black Mitsubishi ASX in the area after 22:00 local time on Thursday, or who has dash cam footage of the road at the time, to contact them.

The vehicle’s registration number is 11 DL 1566.

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