Belfast Telegraph

MP urges people to be careful in heat after Tyrone drowning

By Mark Bain

A post-mortem will be carried out to establish the cause of death of a man whose body was recovered from a river in Co Tyrone.

The deceased was named locally as Frank Donnelly.

The air ambulance was scrambled to Benburb in a bid to save Mr Donnelly on Saturday afternoon.

It is understood a Lithuanian man tried to keep Mr Donnelly alive using CPR after pulling him from the Blackwater River.

Sinn Fein councillor Phelim Gildernew said: "I didn't know him personally but from anyone I've spoken to he was a lovely fellow and never gave anyone any trouble.

"I'd like to pass on my sympathies to his family."

Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew also sent her condolences, saying: "My thoughts and prayers are with the family who I am sure are heartbroken today. I am calling on everyone to be extremely careful and cautious during this current hot spell when in loughs and rivers."

Benburb Angling Club said: "The man who died was a member of the club, but it's yet to be confirmed what happened and how he died. We pass on our sympathies to the family."

Dungannon man Timmy Acheson, who knew Mr Donnelly, said: "It's so sad, the loss of another of life's characters in Frank Donnelly, Champagne Frank. We'll miss the craic."

He added: "There were a couple of Lithuanian families at the river.

"A man went in to try to rescue Frank. He deserves recognition."

The Ambulance Service said: "The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service responded to a 999 call at 12.44pm on Saturday, following reports of a river incident in Benburb, Co Tyrone.

"NIAS dispatched a rapid response paramedic and an A&E crew to the scene. The charity air ambulance was also tasked to the incident.

"No one was taken from the scene."

The PSNI said: "Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of a man, aged in his 60s, whose body was recovered from a river in Benburb on Saturday afternoon.

"A post-mortem examination will be carried out to establish the cause of the death, which is not believed to be suspicious."

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