Mum who lost five family members in tragedy says baby girl is reason to go on

Mar 22, 2016 at 10:49 a.m. ET
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A mother is facing unfathomable loss this week after a tragic accident which killed her husband, mother, sister and two young sons.

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The family members were in a car on a pier in Buncrana, County Donegal at around 7 p.m. on Sunday night when it plunged into the water after skidding on algae, reported the Irish Mirror. It is believed that Sean McGrotty, who was driving the car, tried to do a three-point turn on the pier to leave and return home.

Only half an hour before the tragedy Louise McGrotty, 35, had spoken to them on the phone. She is now trying to come to terms with the loss of husband Sean, 49, mother Ruth Daniels, 59, sister Jodi Lee Daniels, 15, and sons Mark, 12, and Evan, 8.

Father Paddy O'Kane from Holy Family Church in Derry described the tragedy as the worst he had seen in 43 years and said the entire community was struggling to comprehend its magnitude.

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And he revealed that devastated McGrotty will carry on for her baby girl Rionaghac-Ann, the only survivor of the accident.

"Louise said to me, 'I have lost everyone, except little Rionaghac-Ann.' She said, 'Rionaghac-Ann is my reason to go on'," said Father O'Kane.

Four-month-old Rionaghac-Ann was rescued from the sinking car by Davitt Walsh, who stripped down to his underwear, jumped off the pier and swam to help the family.

The 29-year-old trainee barber spoke to RTE about the accident and the moment he raced in to save the child.

"The water started to seep in and [Sean] handed me the baby infant and said 'take my baby'," he said. "The water started coming in and he just looked at me and said 'save my baby'. I took the baby and held it above my head and I swam back to shore."

It's impossible to even begin to understand how a tragedy of this magnitude affects somebody. The funerals, which will take place on Thursday, are going to be some of the most difficult Father O'Kane has conducted.

"I am 43 years a priest and nothing compares to this," he said. "This is way beyond anything in my wildest imagination. This is the worst thing I have ever had."

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