Mum fell in canal and drowned in bid to see wasps
A MOTHER slipped into a canal and drowned after stopping to look at a wasps' nest, an inquest has heard.
Kay Condron (44) was out for a Sunday morning stroll with her husband Kevin last October when tragedy struck.
Her husband Kevin told the inquest how they left their home in Holmshill, Blueball, in Tullamore, on Sunday morning, October 23, 2011, and drove towards the Grand Canal, at nearby Rahan, for a walk.
Kevin Condron said he and Kay had a "bit of chit-chat" during the walk, and when they got back to his parked Fiat Ducato van, they let the dog out of the back and walked towards a nearby gate.
At this stage, Mr Condron said they noticed a wasps' nest on the bank of the canal and decided to take a closer look.
He said his wife was leaning forward to look at the nest when she lost her footing on the canal bank and slipped into the water.
Neither of them could swim and Mr Condron said he grabbed his wife's jacket and fell sideways in the water.
"She was thrashing around," he said. He said he felt if his wife hadn't been panicking, he could have pulled her in.
His wife "seemed to twist", he told the inquest. At this stage, he lost hold of her jacket. He was standing in chest-high water, with Kay just a few feet away from him.
"I just couldn't reach her," he said. He got out of the water and went to get some rope from his van, but there was none there. He then drove to the nearest house for help.
The inquest heard he got no answer at the first house, and so climbed over barbed wire to try the house next door.
A woman answered, who then called her husband, Garda Sergeant Brian Monaghan.
He told the inquest he followed Mr Condron to the canal and jumped into waist high water, which deepened to chest height where Mrs Condron was.
Sgt Monaghan said when she was taken from the canal she was completely limp and wasn't breathing, with no pulse, no reaction to sound and her face and lips were purple.
Sgt Monaghan told the inquest how both he and Mr Condron had difficulty turning on his mobile phone to call an ambulance.
She was taken to Tullamore hospital and died at 2.15pm, just six days before her 45th birthday. The inquest concluded she drowned accidentally.
A native of Currow, Killarney, Co Kerry, Mrs Condron settled in Blueball, Co Offaly, and had a 20-year-old son, Sean.