Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Death of Derry man who fell into canal in Amsterdam treated as an accident by police

Damien McFadden (37)
Damien McFadden (37)

The death of a Londonderry father-of-two who died after falling into a canal in Amsterdam is being treated as a "tragic accident" by Dutch police.

Damien McFadden died within hours of arriving in the city on Saturday.

The 37-year-old had gone to the popular holiday spot for a mini-break with three friends.

A photo of the group celebrating outside the giant Amsterdam Airport sign was posted on Facebook on Saturday.

Mr McFadden's body was discovered in the canel at around 11pm on Saturday.

Reports suggest passers-by along the Singel Canal in the heart of Amsterdam's bustling tourist area raised the alarm after spotting a body in the water.

Divers from the Amsterdam Fire Service entered the steeply sloped bank of the canal and retrieved him.

The rescue team gave CPR to Mr McFadden and he was taken to hospital, but died a short time later.

Where he went into the water is a busy nightlife area, and anyone falling in would find it hard to make their cries heard.

The steep bank would also make it very difficult to get out unaided.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin said it had now made contact with Mr McFadden's relatives and was helping them to deal with the tragic death.

Confirming Mr McFadden's identity, the spokesman said: "The Department of Foreign Affairs is providing consular assistance to the family at the moment."

This will include sorting out arrangements with officials in Holland to bring Mr McFadden's body home for burial.

The Derry man was understood to have been living across the border in Donegal with his partner and their two young children.

Tributes were last night being paid to Mr McFadden online.

One friend wrote: "Such a great funny guy love him loads glad to have met him."

In a message laden with poignancy, on Saturday evening after the group had arrived in Amsterdam, one friend wrote simply: "Be safe."

Another yesterday wrote underneath this message: "Jesus, if only we knew."

Foyle SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan said that everybody's thoughts and prayers were with Mr McFadden's family and friends in the north west.

"This is a real tragedy and I am sure the terrible difficulty and trauma for the family is being compounded by the fact that this has happened so far away," he added.

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