herald

Sunday 23 July 2017

Horror as couple die in river cruise drowning tragedy

Alexandra Macklin Dunne and her husband Frank
Alexandra Macklin Dunne and her husband Frank

A married couple both drowned after a romantic boat trip on the River Shannon turned into a nightmare.

Frank Dunne (39), from Malahide, north Co Dublin, and his wife Alexandra Malkin Dunne, who is aged in her 30s and originally from Britain, were recovered from the water at Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, yesterday afternoon.

It is understood the alarm was raised by friends of the couple after attempts were made to contact them by phone, but there was no response.

They had rented a boat for a trip on the river and are believed to have been familiar with the area and had family connections there. They hired a cruiser earlier this week.

The couple had been living in Germany in recent years, having made Munich their home.

Mr Dunne's remains were located in the river close to the boat at 2pm. His wife's body was recovered in the water later in the afternoon.

Gardai have said the bodies were removed to Sligo University Hospital, where a post-mortem will be carried out on Monday.

Officers said, at this stage, the deaths are being treated as accidental.

One line of inquiry was that Mr Dunne jumped into the water to try and rescue his wife after she accidentally fell in.

Locals from Carrick-on-Shannon have expressed their shock following the tragedy.

"We're very shocked and saddened for such a tragedy to happen in our lovely community and our waters," said councillor Finola Armstrong-McGuire.

Gloom

"Tragic accidents have happened over the years, the Shannon can be cruel."

Another councillor, Enda Stenson, described the reaction in the community when the news of what happened broke.

"A gloom descended over the town when the news came through," said Mr Stenson.

"There was an event on in the sports complex and everybody was in shock. Our sympathy goes out to the families, there are two families grieving tonight."

An employee of the Victoria Hall, a restaurant close to where the bodies were recovered, said she is still in shock.

"A lady came into the restaurant earlier today very shaken saying that they were pulling a body out of the water," she said.

"It's such a tragic thing to happen. Around this time last year another person drowned nearby, but it's never an easy thing to hear.

"I'm still shocked and can't understand how something like this happened, especially when the weather has been so good lately."

Friends last night began leaving tributes on Facebook for the tragic couple. "Spoke to Frank at work just the other day... cheerful and easy going as ever. My heart goes out to you and your family," one said.

"To both families my heart is broken for your losses rip to two of the most beautiful caring down for the craic pair anyone would ever meet in great and found memories," another wrote.

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