Belfast Telegraph

Teen drowned in quarry while trying to save his friend's life

By Pat Flynn

A teenage boy who drowned in an 80ft-deep quarry in the Republic was making a desperate bid to save his friend who had got into difficulty.

The two students both lost their lives in the tragedy which happened as the country baked in hot sunshine yesterday afternoon.

Jack Kenneally and Shay Moloney were among a group of youngsters who had been swimming in an abandoned quarry near Knockanean just a short distance from Ennis, Co Clare.

The two teenagers were pronounced dead at University Hospital Limerick last night after being earlier airlifted to the hospital by the Shannon Coastguard helicopter.

Onlookers on the shore raised the alarm at around 3.30pm after both boys disappeared below the surface and didn't reappear. A major rescue operation was quickly launched.

But despite the best efforts of rescuers, it is understood they had been in the water for up to 30 minutes before they were brought to the surface.

An eye-witness told of the frantic efforts to rescue two teenagers from the water.

The local man phoned 999 after friends of the two teenagers shouted from across the water to get help.

A firefighter and a local man using diving equipment both made attempts to recover the boys who were lying on rocks under the deep water.

The witness said that he could hear young voices saying "hold him up, hold him up, hold him up".

Distressed friends of the two teenagers were also at the scene.

He said: "We responded as best as we could. It is terribly sad for the poor people."

It is understood that both boys attended St Flannan's College in Ennis and were keen sportsmen.

Jack Kenneally was a talented rugby player.

Local councillor Mary Howard said she knows the families through sport in Ennis and said she is "absolutely heartbroken".

"Every summer we hear of about people drowning in our rivers and lakes and at beaches, but you just don't think it's going to come to your own front door," she said.

"It's a parents worst nightmare, my heart breaks for the family concerned. I'm in shock and everybody else is in shock," she added.

Chief Superintendent John Kerin of the Clare Garda Division said: "It's a truly awful tragedy. Both were extremely popular and talented teenagers. Our hearts go out to their families."

He said: "They are in our thoughts and prayers. We urge all to only swim at locations with lifeguards."

The body of water known as the 'Quarry' locally is a swimming blackspot.

There are signs at the entrance of the lands warning of the dangers.

Belfast Telegraph

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