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Instead of enjoying Lough Erne break, grieving husband and kids are left to prepare for funeral

By Cate McCurry

Looking at the calm waters of Lough Erne yesterday, it seemed difficult to imagine the frantic scenes which had taken place only hours earlier.

An Easter break on the picturesque tourist mecca in Co Fermanagh turned into a tragedy after a woman slipped and fell overboard from a rented boat and drowned just metres from her family.

Yesterday, the white and blue cruiser they had hired remained tied up at the jetty while police continued their investigations into an accident that left two young children without a mother.

The usual scenes of tranquillity on Lower Lough Erne were disturbed by the presence of PSNI motorboats making their way to and from the spot where the tragedy occurred.

Signs had been erected in the area to alert visitors and locals that the Devenish ferry service had been suspended for the day, one of the few indications of the horror that had unfolded earlier.

Although it was the start of the Easter holidays and the weather was pleasant, the Trory jetty that looks onto Devenish remained quiet for most of yesterday, apart from a few locals walking in the area.

Across the peaceful water on the island, tourists could be seen exploring the monastic site, perhaps unaware that the lough had claimed a life only hours earlier.

The 31-year-old victim had been getting ready for bed with her husband while their children were asleep onboard the holiday cruiser.

The family-of-four, including a boy aged 13 and an 11-year-old girl, had planned to spend their Easter holidays exploring the rural scenery that surrounds Lough Erne and had rented the boat from the nearby Manor House Marine.

On Wednesday the family had moored at Devenish, where they were to settle for the night.

The chaotic scenes that quickly unfolded was in stark contrast to the peaceful settings that enveloped them.

After her husband heard the splash of her falling in to the water, he dived in in a desperate bid a to save her.

Unable to find her in the darkness, he got out of the lough to alert the emergency services.

But it was an agonising 45 minutes before they located her just metres from the back of the boat.

Desperate efforts were made to revive the woman in the rescue boat and the ambulance taking her to hospital in Enniskillen, but to no avail. In Enniskillen, locals spoke of their shock at the death, and how the busy boating season is starting to get under way.

"Everyone using the water should wear lifejackets at all times," one man who lives in the town said.

"It's awfully sad what happened to that young mother and no one wants to see a repeat of this."

Instead of enjoying a family Easter break, a heartbroken husband and his two young children are now preparing for a funeral.

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