Belfast Telegraph

Man sucked to his death by hidden river whirlpool in Northern Ireland

A Northern Ireland father who drowned in a river while swimming in hot weather may have been sucked into a hidden whirlpool.

The family of 34-year-old James Kincaid died while swimming in a river close to Newtownstewart in Co Tyrone.

He is the fourth person in Northern Ireland to die after getting into difficulty in water in warm summer weather since June.

The death of Mr Kincaid has highlighted yet again the dangers of swimming in open water in hot weather.

Mr Kincaid, from Newtownstewart, was one of two men who got into difficulties in the River Strule, near Douglas Road, on Saturday. He died at the scene.

A police spokesman said: “Police would wish to take this opportunity in the warm weather to remind the public of the dangers of being tempted to go swimming in rivers or other non-designated areas.

“This can be a hazardous activity, especially where alcohol has been consumed, and police would appeal for everyone to stay out of these bodies of water.”

Mr Kincaid died just two days after a 15-year-old boy died in a river at the Roe Valley Park in Limavady.

Stephen Mitchell, from Doagh, Co Antrim, was on a family day out to the park when he died after entering the water to retrieve a ball. His distressed mother Josephine had to watch as family members battled in vain to rescue him.

By the time they were able to bring him to shore, the teenager was unconscious. He was airlifted to hospital but later died.

His death followed a double tragedy in Co Down on June 1.

Kevin O'Hare (15) and Colin Polland (39) both died at a disused granite quarry in Annalong, popular with young people for swimming on hot days.

A group of boys was swimming at the quarry at Glassdrumman Road when Kevin got into in difficulty. It is thought he was hampered by extremely cold water. His friends ran for help and found Mr Polland, who was staying in a nearby cottage.

The father-of-two, who lived in England but was originally from Co Down, jumped in to try and rescue Kevin but he drowned too.

Mr Kincaid’s sister Toyah said the victim knew the river and its dangers well, but she believes he may have been caught by a concealed whirlpool. She also said her brother lived for his two sons. “They were his world,” she added.

Described by his family as a strong swimmer, Mr kincaid learned to fish on the banks of the river where he died. It became a lifelong passion, which he was keen to pass on to his two sons Christian (8) and Cody-James (6).

“He fished all his life. He tried to get his two weans out fishing, too,” Toyah Kincaid, his sister, said yesterday.

“I was baffled last night about what happened because he does know the bits in the river where you shouldn’t go,” Toyah added. “That’s what’s making me think that maybe when he was out carrying on and swimming, he probably forgot himself and went out a bit further than he should have.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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