She then rang her brother Joshua who asked had she been reading social media. She said no. He was able to tell her of an accident in Buncrana although he did not have the details of the victims. Just half an hour earlier at 6. She told them she would see them later than night.
Ms James also told the inquest how she was brought to Letterkenny Hospital to identify her family members. Mr Walsh told the inquest how he drove to the pier with his girlfriend at the time Ms Knox to enjoy the view. He stripped down to his underpants and swam out to the vehicle. He said Mr McGrotty sat on the ledge of the window with his feet in the car and his head and shoulders out of the vehicle.
He tried to grab his arm but as water rushed into the car, he Mr Walsh was being sucked into the vehicle and he was unable to hold on. Mr Walsh said the vehicle was about 25 metres from the pier at that stage. Shortly after he rescued the baby, the car sank into the water.
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He described how he used the back stroke to swim back with Rioghnach-Ann. At the pier, he passed the baby to Ms Knox. He said she slipped on the algae and had difficulty getting up the slipway. He dug his feet into cracks in the concrete and pushed her up the slipway. He said that when he finally got to the top he was so exhausted that he could hardly breathe. He suffered grazes and cuts to his feet and was taken to Letterkenny Hospital for treatment and examination. Mr Walsh said that as a man familiar with the sea, piers and harbours he was conscious of the dangers of algae, but that a stranger would not be so aware.
Buncrana man Francis Crawford said he went out for a Sunday drive with this wife Kay, arriving at the slipway about 7.
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At that stage the water was about four inches up along the wheels of the vehicle. Mr Crawford said he rang and got through to coastguard to issue the alert. He said he spoke with urgency and clarity. As the driver continued to appeal for help and as the car drifted further into Lough Swilly, Mr Crawford shouted to him help was on the way. He said at that stage Mr Walsh and his girlfriend Ms Knox had arrived at the scene.
He asked Mr Walsh could he swim.
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Mr Crawford said Mr Walsh stripped down to his underwear and went into the water. He said his girlfriend told him to be careful. Mr Crawford said the car appeared to slowly move out into the water where it bobbed up and down. Eventually the nose of the car tilted and shortly afterwards the car sank. He then described how three bodies surfaced, one an adult who appeared to be trying to swim.
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Mr Crawford said there was no movement from the other two bodies. Shortly thereafter the RNLI got a boat out onto the water and started bringing in the bodies. Attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful. The emergency services called after the car plunged off the pier, arrived within 12 minutes, Mr Crawford said.
She was confident at that stage that the baby would survive. Rioghnach-Ann was then brought to Letterkenny Hospital. Ms Crawford said the water appeared to be half way up the wheels of the Audi when she first noticed the vehicle. He also told how the rescue services brought ashore the bodies and how attempts were made at resuscitation. He said he was aware of only one lifebuoy present at the scene on the evening of the tragedy.
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