Belfast Telegraph

RNLI volunteer drowns in Donegal

Leigh Early, 26, worked on the Arainn Mhor ferry and was a volunteer on the island’s RNLI lifeboat.

An RNLI volunteer has drowned in Co Donegal (Paul Faith/PA)
An RNLI volunteer has drowned in Co Donegal (Paul Faith/PA)

By Michael McHugh, PA

A man who drowned after his car entered the sea in Co Donegal was a gifted seafarer, the RNLI said.

Leigh Early, 26, worked on the Arainn Mhor ferry and was a volunteer on the island’s RNLI lifeboat.

A 30-year-old man managed to get out of the vehicle but Mr Early, who was the driver, was trapped inside.

RNLI area lifesaving manager Owen Medland said: “The deceased was one of our volunteers and was very close to us. He was a super young man who would be a loss to any community, never mind a small community.

‘As an organisation, our thoughts are with the family, our volunteer crew who fought valiantly to save the young man’s life, and the wider Arranmore community.”

i think there it really does highlight the perils and the respect that the sea demands Owen Medland

Mr Medland told the BBC’s Evening Extra programme he was: “A born and naturally gifted seafarer and a good swimmer.

“I think there it really does highlight the perils and the respect that the sea demands.”

He said he was vibrant, full of life and familiar to many on a daily basis due to his work with the ferry.

Gardai said they attended the scene of an incident where a vehicle entered the water at Poolawaddy Pier, Arranmore, at approximately 5.10am on Sunday.

His body was removed to Letterkenny University Hospital, where a post-mortem examination took place on Monday, then returned to the island.

Funeral Mass will take place at St Crone’s Church on Arranmore Island on Wednesday.

PA

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