herald

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Laura's 'bright light has been extinguished and the grief is beyond words'

Laura Dempsey (15) drowned while on holiday in Stalida
Laura Dempsey (15) drowned while on holiday in Stalida

An Irish schoolgirl has drowned in a swimming pool in Crete during an afternoon swim.

Laura Dempsey (15), a secondary school pupil from Greystones, Co Wicklow, died in the accident in a hotel pool on the Greek island.

The teenager, a talented sailor, was enjoying a holiday at the resort with her parents John and Nicola when the tragedy occurred on Sunday.

The girl's parents became concerned at around 2.30pm on that day when they could not locate her in the resort village of Stalida.

According to local media, they discovered the teenager in the swimming pool at their hotel.

Attempts were made to resuscitate the girl and the emergency services were called.

Attempts

Paramedics and a doctor attempted to revive her but their attempts were unsuccessful.

Her body was taken to a local hospital where a post-mortem was scheduled to take place.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed it was aware of the case and consular assistance was being provided to the girl's family.

Stalida, also know as Stalis, is a beach resort midway between Malia and Hersonissos. It is a popular resort for Irish holidaymakers.

A senior police spokesman told the Herald that the drowning was reported to the authorities and that a post-mortem examination was being carried out.

He added that the police would receive a report from the forensic doctor, as was usually the case in tragic drownings on the island.

News of the tragedy was greeted with shock and sadness in Greystones, where the family are popular members of the sailing club.

The club's commodore, Daragh Cafferky, said family and friends and fellow club members were devastated by the terrible news of Laura's death.

"She was a really enthusiastic sailor and the loss of a girl as young as Laura is particularly tragic," he said.

Talented

"The tragic death of one of our young and valued juniors has been greeted with extraordinary sadness.

"This talented and popular member of our junior community died tragically whilst on holidays with her parents.

"A bright light has been extinguished and it is beyond words to express the grief we all feel for our friends Nicky and John."

In a poignant message to express the feelings of all those involved with the club, he said: "I know you all share with us in expressing our deep, deep sympathy to all her family and friends.

"Sailing will go ahead this Wednesday to both recognise the great pleasure Laura got from sailing and to allow the membership to gather as a community and support each other in such sad times.

"Many of Laura's friends are and will be participating in summer junior courses and these will continue but with a managed programme of support for any of our trainees that are affected by the loss."

Laura was a talented pupil attending the Templecarrig Secondary School, a new establishment constructed in the County Wicklow town in recent years.

Local Independent councillor Jennifer Whitmore, cathaoirleach of Greystones Municipal District, said the local community was "in shock".

She added everyone was "profoundly saddened" by the death of the popular local girl.

Keen

Fianna Fail Cllr Gerry Walsh, leas-cathaoirleach of the municipal district, said Laura was known as a "very keen" member of the local sailing club. Her death was "a terrible loss" for her family and community, he added.

The Stalis Bay resort complex has long been a popular destination for families from Ireland.

Located on the north coast of Crete, it is known as a lively resort, attracting tourists from several European countries. It has a long, sandy beach and a wide variety of bars, restaurants and tavernas.

The resort is 30 kilometres from Heraklion Airport, and while it is a busy destination for tourists, it is known as being somewhat quieter than the neighbouring resorts of Malia and Hersonissos. It is considered to have a more relaxed atmosphere.

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