| 3.4°C Belfast

Super young man and a loss to community: Tributes to Donegal lifeboat crew volunteer who died in freak accident


Tragic death: Lee Early

Tragic death: Lee Early

Tragic death: Lee Early

Desperate members of a lifeboat crew tried to save the life of a colleague whose car slipped into the sea in a freak accident off the coast of Donegal.

The victim has been named locally as Lee Early, a 26-year-old single man from Arranmore Island.

The tightly-knit island community, which has a population of around 450 people, is grieving today following the freak accident which claimed Mr Early's life.

Another man in his 30s was lucky to escape after the car they were in went into the sea at Poolawaddy Pier just after 5am yesterday morning.

Mr Early, who worked on the Arranmore Ferry, was a volunteer on the island's RNLI lifeboat. His father Jimmy is the coxswain on the local lifeboat.

Members of the lifeboat crew, whose station is close to the scene of the tragedy, rushed to save Mr Early and his friend after their car entered the water.

The passenger managed to swim free but Mr Early died at the scene despite the heroic efforts of the lifeboat crew members to resuscitate him.

RNLI area life-saving manager for Ireland Owen Medland said Mr Early's death was a huge loss to the island.

"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," he said.

"As an organisation, our thoughts are with the family, our volunteer crew who fought valiantly to save the young man's life.

"We would like to assure the community that after what appears was a tragic accident, we are maintaining our lifeboat service on the island which is further testimony to the crew in Arranmore."

Belfast Telegraph