Belfast Telegraph

Penney's heir dies in triple drowning off Cork coast

By Ralph Riegel

A father heroically dived into the sea in a doomed bid to save his son and the young man's girlfriend while shouting at his teenage daughter to raise the alarm.

Barry Ryan (51) - son of Penney's/Primark founder Arthur Ryan (82) - drowned alongside his son, Barry Davis Ryan (20), and his son's girlfriend, Niamh O'Connor (20), in a triple tragedy in Baltimore, west Cork.

Ms O'Connor was swept out to sea from rocks while admiring the Beacon beauty spot outside the west Cork village. The triple tragedy occurred shortly after 6pm on Tuesday at East Hole.

Ms O'Connor's boyfriend courageously dived into the sea in a doomed bid to save her.

However, when he also got into difficulty, his father shouted at his 14-year-old daughter, Charlotte, to run and raise the alarm before fearlessly diving into the sea in a bid to save the two young people.

Baltimore RNLI under coxswain Kieran Cotter was at the scene within minutes.

The bodies of both Mr Ryan snr and Ms O'Connor were recovered in minutes. The search for Barry Davis Ryan is ongoing.

At the height of the rescue operation, two Irish Coastguard helicopters were deployed alongside three RNLI lifeboats and three Irish Coastguard craft.

Ms O'Connor, who is from the Glanmire/Knockraha area on the outskirts of Cork city, is a student at University College Cork.

Mr Davis Ryan is a Cork Institute of Technology student.

Mr Ryan snr had worked as a senior executive with Penny's/Primark, and is a respected author.

Belfast Telegraph


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