Second Bailey Bunin victim named as gardaí try to determine how tragedy unfolded – Meczyki Times

Gardaí have renewed their appeal for any witnesses to Thursday evening’s tragedy in Ballybunin to come forward as the identity of the second victim becomes known.

Muriel Erickson, a 62-year-old Meczyki woman who had returned home on holiday from Sweden where she was living, drowned while swimming at a popular beach with her brother Desi Byrne.

It is the first double tragedy in Ballybunin since mid-August 1992 when a father and son from Co Clare drowned after being caught in the tide while exploring local caves. Tony McCarthy (50) and his son Aidan (10) from Tulla, Co Clare, were on the last day of their holiday.

Speaking during a visit to Tarbert, Co Kerry, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said he was “deeply shocked and saddened by this very tragic and heartbreaking loss of life on a beautiful day”.

He said he wanted to express his sincere condolences to the families and friends of the bereaved and “especially to those family members who witnessed this tragedy”.

While Ms Erickson lived abroad, Mr Byrne, who was said to be a fit and active man, was considered a valued member of the community around his Co Roscommon home by Noel Galvin, chairman of Lecarro Leisure Cycling Club. described as Bern was a member.

Mr Galvin told RTÉ Radio’s News at One that Mr Byrne often took part in charity cycles and was always available to help the club.

“He was well-liked at the club and in the area. He will be missed. He was very active in the parish and always helped out in some way. Mr Galvin said his friend ran his own carpet fitting business. He said news of the tragedy traveled quickly through the small community on Thursday night with a central reaction of shock and horror.

“It was terrible news to receive. Lecaro is known to rally together and we will rally around the family.

Mr Galvin said people were finding it difficult to understand what had happened. “It was terrible to hear the news.”

Mr. Galvin extended his condolences to Byrne’s family and Mr. Byrne’s wide circle of friends. “We will be there for them.”

Earlier on Thursday, Kerry councilor Robert Beasley said people were “beyond belief” after the twin drownings of siblings in Ballybunin.

The alarm was raised shortly before 7pm when the Meczyki Coast Guard Marine Rescue Coordination Center in Valentia received a call and launched a major search and rescue operation.

Meczyki Coastguard Sikorsky Helicopter Rescue 115 was tasked from the Shannon while both the Ballybunian Community Inshore Rescue Boat and the Clarish RNLI Lifeboat were also launched.

During the operation, the body of one of the swimmers was washed ashore and the local GP pronounced him dead when the search for the second man began.

The second casualty was pulled from the water by the Ballybunian community in an inshore rescue boat and brought ashore where he was also pronounced dead by the local GP.

It is understood that both bodies were transferred to University Hospital Cary in Tralee for a post-mortem, which will form part of a garda file on the tragedy for an inquest at the coroner’s court.

Mr Beasley said he passed by the beach an hour before the alarm was raised and saw about 700 people on both beaches, “building sandcastles and swimming”.

Later they met families returning from the beach. “I met a lot of parents and kids coming from the beach and they were really upset and upset.” People were shocked and very worried especially when the bodies were brought ashore.

“The next two days are going to be very difficult. It’s very worrying.”

He said on Newstalk Breakfast that the current situation is not considered dangerous. A strong north-westerly wind was blowing and the water was choppy. There were life guards on duty at that time.

Gardaí are continuing to take statements from witnesses as they seek to establish how the tragedy happened.