Belfast Telegraph

Unagh Gallogly death: Police apologise to man who tried to save her - family thank him for his efforts

Mother-of-three Unagh Gallogly
Mother-of-three Unagh Gallogly
Alistair McCammon
The car after it had been removed from the water at Muckross Bay in Kesh
Muckross Bay in Kesh
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Police have apologised to a Co Armagh man for failing to initially acknowledge his heroic efforts to save a woman from her car after it entered Lough Erne.

Mother-of-three Unagh Gallogly (nee McCann), from Drumquin in Co Tyrone, was pulled from her submerged car in Co Fermanagh at the weekend. She passed away yesterday.

Mrs Gallogly became trapped in her vehicle when it entered the water at Muckross Pier on the Boa Island Road in Kesh at around 10.30pm on Saturday.

Police, the Irish Coastguard, RNLI, Fire Service and the Ambulance Service all attended the scene.

The 55-year-old was taken to the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen in a critical condition following the incident.

She died in hospital yesterday morning surrounded by her family.

Mrs Gallogly's relatives yesterday thanked Alistair McCammon for his heroic efforts to save her from the submerged car.

Mr McCammon was returning by boat with his family from nearby Lusty Beg Island on Saturday night when they came across the incident.

The 45-year-old repeatedly dived underwater in his efforts to save Mrs Gallogly.

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Alistair McCammon

He managed to pull her up and out of the car and got her onto his boat, where a police officer performed CPR.

They made it to shore, where an ambulance had already arrived and she was rushed to hospital.

In a phone call yesterday a family member contacted the McCammon family to thank Alistair for his efforts during the rescue operation.

Yesterday the PSNI issued an apology for failing to mention Mr McCammon's courage in their initial statement about the incident.

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The car after it had been removed from the water at Muckross Bay in Kesh

While the PSNI praised three officers for their "heroic efforts" to save Mrs Gallogly, it later emerged that Mr McCammon was the man who had risked his life to free her from her vehicle.

Superintendent Clive Beatty said yesterday: "We issued in good faith details of the incident as we were aware of them on Sunday morning. It has since become clear, however, that a member of the public entered the water and assisted police in the search and rescue of the woman.

"We accept that this was not adequately represented in the initial Press release and can only apologise to the member of the public who also acted heroically in the moment and also allowed police to use his boat to perform CPR on the woman after she was pulled from the car."

Three PSNI officers also entered the water to assist in the rescue and were treated for shock.

Mrs Gallogly was the youngest of 14 children and a native of Dromore, Co Tyrone.

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Muckross Bay in Kesh

She worked as a nurse at the Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital in Omagh for over 30 years and was due to retire in August.

She was also a well-known supporter of the local Dromore St Dympna's GAA club.

Her daughter Eimear was yesterday making her way home from Melbourne in Australia while her son Aidan had travelled home over the weekend from Cumbria in England.

A family friend said yesterday that Mrs Gallogly's relatives have been left with many "unanswered questions" about the circumstances surrounding her tragic death.

"They are all just numb. Nobody knows how or why this happened," they said.

"Unagh was looking forward to her retirement in seven weeks' time and after that the world was her oyster.

"She was a dedicated wife and mother and someone who was always so bright and cheerful when you met her."

Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton extended her sympathy to the Gallogly and McCann family circle. Mrs Barton said: "This is a sad end to the situation and I offer sincere condolences to the family of the bereaved lady.

"There was certainly a valiant rescue operation to save the lady from the lough.

"I commend those who made the efforts and in many cases put their own lives at risk, including members of the public and emergency services."

Fermanagh SDLP councillor John Coyle added: "This is a terrible tragedy and local people are shocked and devastated.

"There was a huge operation here on Saturday after it became apparent that a car had entered the water.

"Local people and the emergency services rallied to save the woman trapped in the car with no concern for their own safety.

"Their bravery was incredible.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the woman's family and friends at this awful time."

Mrs Gallogly is survived by her husband of over 30 years Michael, their three grown-up children: Aidan, Mark and Eimear, and her 11 surviving siblings, Eugene, Monica (Mullan), John, Patricia (McMahon), Martin, Sheila (Campbell), Nuala (McGuigan), Kevin, Ita (McCusker), Francis and Brendan.

She was predeceased by two of her siblings, Gabriel and Angela (Sweeney).

Her remains are currently reposing at her late residence on the Glen Road in Drumquin.

Her funeral will take place from there tomorrow for 11am Requiem Mass in St Patrick's Church, Langfield, Drumquin, with burial afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.

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