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Man who died in Tollymore river tragedy named as Arnie Clarke (56)

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Tollymore Forest Park. Picture: Google Maps

Tollymore Forest Park. Picture: Google Maps

Tollymore Forest Park. Picture: Google Maps

A 56-year-old man who died in a river tragedy in Tollymore Forest Park has been named as Arnie Clarke. 

Mr Clarke was from the Co Antrim area but had been living in France.

Antrim GAA club posted about the man they described as their friend on their Facebook page, saying he loved a challenge, never missed training and enjoyed live music after matches.

"Even now at 56 Arnie had always looked after himself and could be seen walking his beloved dog when he was home from France," they said.

It's believed Mr Clarke was trying to rescue a pet dog when he lost his life on Thursday.

A second man was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for treatment following the incident, but his condition is understood not to be life-threatening.

A spokesman for the NI Ambulance Service said they had been called to the incident just after 2pm on Thursday afternoon.

"We sent two crews to the incident, and the charity air ambulance was also deployed," the spokesman said "but despite our best efforts the man 's life could not be saved."

SDLP MLA for South Down, Colin McGrath said he was 'saddened ' by news of Mr Clarke's death in the park.

“We have been very saddened to hear news today that a gentleman has lost his life in Tollymore Forest Park.” he told the Belfast Telegraph

"My sincere sympathies and I am sure those of everyone across South Down go out to the bereaved family and friends at this time".

Local Mournes councillor Laura Devlin added ‘We are all devastated in the Newcastle area to hear this news this evening.

"A day that should have been a happy one with a walk in nature has ended so tragically. It is heartbreaking." the SDLP representative said.

Belfast Telegraph