Jury returns verdict of misadventure at Buncrana pier tragedy inquest

Floral tributes were left at Buncrana Pier in the days after the March 2016 tragedy

John Leech, chief executive of the Irish Water Safety organisation, said in any such emergencies the occupants within a minute should ensure seat belts were released and that the windows were down to enable people to escape from the vehicles.

Mr McGrotty's four-month-old daughter, Rionaghac-Ann, was the sole survivor of the pier tragedy in March 2016 after a heroic bystander dashed into the water and rescued the baby girl.

Louise fought back tears as she stood in bitter coldness outside the Lake of Shadows Hotel where she had heard gut-wrenching evidence of the last moments of her loved ones lives over the past two days.

Witnesses say before drowning, McGrotty smashed the auto window to pass Rioghnach out of the window, screaming "save my baby!"

Ms James was speaking after a jury returned a verdict of death by misadventure at the inquest into the deaths of Sean McGrotty (49), his sons Evan (8) and Mark (12); the boy's grandmother Ruth Daniels (57) and her daughter Jodie Lee Tracey (14).

Mr Walsh tried to save another child, but said he seemed to "get stuck" on something.

"Their actions are the truest reflection of the unstinting service provided by An Garda Siochana".

The jury also issued one recommendation at the suggestion of a number from coroner Dr Denis McCauley.

He said he could not imagine what the victims' families were going through.

Jury returns verdict of misadventure at Buncrana pier tragedy inquest
Jury returns verdict of misadventure at Buncrana pier tragedy inquest

Mr O'Raw tried to open the four side doors of the vehicle, which was then in about three metres of water, but was unable to.

Discussion also surrounded the use of laminated glass which made it considerably more hard to break through the windows, technical experts said.

For Audi, Gerard Boyle said when the control unit became wet it would have shut down and the door would have been left in its original condition, locked or unlocked.

Other evidence suggested the vehicle must have been locked at the time of the accident since rescuers were not able to get the door open, the inquest was told.

He added: "We truly hope the conclusion of the inquest will go some way to aiding the grieving process".

"Each death will be felt differently but it is still eternally tragic and I'd like to extend my condolences to all families", he said.

Louise James, partner of Mr McGrotty, in a statement read by her solicitor Robert Anderson, said she firmly believed "the slipway should have been closed to the general public or else proper warning signs displayed, as it was an accident waiting to happen".

She said that withstanding the evidence given in relation to her partner, he was a loving and kind man.

The jury said he also died from drowning.

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