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Father-of-two dies after vehicle ends up in Newry canal

By Joanne Fleming

Published 28/11/2016

The scene at Victoria Lock in the Newry canal where a van entered the water yesterday afternoon
The scene at Victoria Lock in the Newry canal where a van entered the water yesterday afternoon

A man has died after his van plunged into the Newry canal.

A passer-by raised the alarm at Victoria Lock shortly before 2pm on Sunday that a vehicle had entered the canal at Fathom Line in Newry.

The driver was rushed by ambulance to the Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry where he later died.

Inspector Russell Vogan said: "Enquiries into the circumstances surrounding this incident are ongoing."

An eyewitness said emergency services, including four Fire and Rescue crews and a police dive team, continued their investigation at the cordoned-off scene on the Omeath Road yesterday.

"The van was totally submerged," he said. "An ambulance could be seen going towards Newry with its sirens blaring.

"It appears the van was in the car park where there are picnic benches and a lay-by.

"The canal is very deep there.

"There were a set of steel bollards there, both probably about three feet high. The two were flattened."

SDLP councillor Gary Stokes said the van driver was a father-of-two in his 30s.

"It is so, so sad," he said. "It is such a shock to the family."

He added: "There have been a number of incidents in the Newry canal. Certainly nothing in the last number of years but in my lifetime people have taken their life in the canal."

Mr Stokes said he did not know if anything could be done to make the area more secure, but said it would be worth exploring with the local authority.

"People are shocked here and their hearts go out to his family and friends," he added.

Local SDLP councillor Pete Byrne also offered his condolences.

"My thoughts are very much with the family of this man who has two young children," he said.

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