Wednesday 26 October 2016

Woman killed by freak wave on her dream holiday

Stephanie Hartnett drowned
Stephanie Hartnett drowned

A dream holiday in Vietnam ended in tragedy when an Irish woman drowned after being swept off a beach by a freak wave.

The woman, named locally as Stephanie Hartnett (64), died despite desperate attempts by other holidaymakers and Vietnamese rescue officials to save her.

Ms Hartnett was originally from Adare, Co Limerick, but had been resident over recent years in Mallow, Co Cork.

She was single and well known in north Cork for her involvement in charities and historical societies. Ms Hartnett was a former president of the Rotary Club in Mallow.

She was also honoured last year when she was chosen as one of four wreath-bearers at the bicentennial commemoration of Mallow-born patriot Thomas Davis in Dublin.

Ms Hartnett had travelled to south-east Asia with a group of close friends for what was described as "the holiday of a lifetime".

She was deeply interested in foreign cultures and had been planning the overseas trip with her pals for several months.

The holiday included a detailed sightseeing programme supplemented by time at a beach resort.

It is understood she was relaxing by a popular Vietnamese beach resort outside Ho Chi Minh City when she was apparently swept away by a freak wave last Saturday.

Seas had been very rough off Vietnam and Thailand over recent days due to the lingering effects of several typhoons in the region.

These are being blamed for the freak wave that swept Ms Hartnett away while she was standing in the shallows.

Desperate efforts to reach her in time failed and Ms Hartnett died.

Junior Foreign Affairs Minister and Mallow TD Sean Sherlock has ensured full consular support services are being provided to the Hartnett family via the Irish mission in Hanoi.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is assisting the devastated family. Ms Hartnett's shocked friends are now cutting short their holiday in light of the tragedy.

Meanwhile, a young Irish man who was placed in an induced coma after he sustained a brain injury in an assault in Australia has been discharged from hospital.


Jason Cierans (29), of Mount Nebo Avenue, Cork, was hospitalised on August 22 after he was attacked outside a pub at Bondi Junction in Sydney.

He spent several weeks in the intensive care unit of St Vincent's Hospital.

It is suspected Mr Cierans was punched and then fell, striking his head on the concrete pavement.

Mr Cierans underwent emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.

He then spent several days in a coma before regaining consciousness.

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