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Picture of the week: Back in arms of hero who saved her life

By Kerry McKittrick

Published 26/03/2016

In a heartbreakingly poignant scene, Davitt Walsh cradles four-month-old Rioghnach-Ann McGrotty in his arms
In a heartbreakingly poignant scene, Davitt Walsh cradles four-month-old Rioghnach-Ann McGrotty in his arms

In a heartbreakingly poignant scene, Davitt Walsh cradles four-month-old Rioghnach-Ann McGrotty in his arms.

This is no ordinary picture of a sleeping baby; this picture is of a baby girl sleeping in the arms of the man who saved her life.

They were reunited on Tuesday after a terrible accident took the lives of her grandmother, aunt, father and two brothers.

Rioghnach-Ann is the only survivor of the unspeakable tragedy that befell her family last Sunday.

On a family trip to Donegal, while Rioghnach-Ann's mum, Louise, was away in England, they had stopped at Buncrana pier to watch the sunset when their car began to slip into the water.

Inside the car were Rioghnach-Ann's grandmother, Ruth Daniels, and her 14-year-old daughter, Jodie Lee; Sean McGrotty (49), the partner of Ruth's daughter, Louise, and Rioghnach-Ann's father, and Sean and Louise's sons, Mark (12) and Evan (8).

Eye-witnesses have spoke of the horror they felt as they watched helplessly from the shore. Davitt Walsh was the only person to go into the water and baby Rioghnach-Ann was passed to him through the car window to safety. She was the only survivor of the tragedy.

Northern Ireland reeled with grief on Thursday as the funerals took place in their parish of Ballymagroarty in Londonderry.

Hundreds of mourners lined the streets and the funerals were attended by the First and Deputy First Ministers.

At the service, Louise publicly thanked Mr Walsh for his actions, saying she would be forever grateful to him. They had met earlier that week, on Tuesday, when this photograph was taken by a family friend.

More than £30,000 has already been raised by well-wishers in support of the stricken family - a family who went on a simple day out, which ended in a tragic accident and sent shockwaves around the world.

Belfast Telegraph

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