herald

Sunday 25 August 2019

'Much-loved' Irish teacher Fiona among 17 killed in horror Dubai bus crash

Dubai crash victim Fiona Geraghty
Dubai crash victim Fiona Geraghty

A "strong but gentle" young Irish national school teacher has died in a bus crash that also injured her boyfriend.

Fiona Geraghty (27), from Balbriggan, north Co Dublin, died in a Dubai hospital in the early hours of yesterday morning after the crash in the Middle Eastern city, which claimed the lives of 17 people.

Ms Geraghty, a much-loved teacher from St Molaga's Senior National School in Balbriggan, was with her boyfriend when the bus crashed.

The young man, also a teacher, was not seriously hurt but suffered internal bleeding and head injuries. He was due to be released from hospital yesterday evening.

Break

Ms Geraghty, a former Loreto Convent Balbriggan student, had been taking a year-long break in Dubai, where she was teaching national school-age children.

One family friend told the Herald the young couple had just decided they were going to extend their stay in Dubai for another year.

Both had been teaching at the School of Research Science in Al Warqa, Dubai.

The couple, former students of St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, had met in college.

"Fiona's parents were in Lanzarote celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary when they got the call that their pride and joy was gone," a friend said.

"She was a lovely, bright, young, intelligent girl, who loved life. Fiona was just out in Dubai for a year with her boyfriend trying to save.

The scene of the horror bus crash. Photo: AP
The scene of the horror bus crash. Photo: AP

"I'm just devastated. I feel for her family - I'm numb."

A statement released by St Molaga's, on behalf of the board of management, staff and pupils read: "We are deeply saddened by the news of Fiona's death.

"Fiona was a much-loved member of our staff and she will be greatly missed by all who knew her. She was an enthusiastic, energetic teacher who always got the best from her students.

"She was lively but calm, strong but gentle, innovative but creative in her work and loved by staff and pupils alike.

"Our teachers are supporting our pupils in dealing with this tragic event. We greatly appreciate all the offers of support we have received."

It is understood Ms Geraghty's mother and father, Mary and Christopher, received a call at around 8pm on Thursday (Irish time) informing them she had been hospitalised and by around 12.30am or 1am yesterday morning, another call informed them she had passed away.

Fiona Geraghty had been teaching in Dubai
Fiona Geraghty had been teaching in Dubai

Ms Geraghty's boyfriend had worked at a national school in Donabate, north Co Dublin.

"Fiona was a beautiful, kind, gentle person with a passion for life and she wanted to see the world. She excelled at teaching and all her colleagues and students at St Molaga's loved her dearly," a friend said.

"Words can't describe how the family are feeling after this terrible tragedy."

Ms Geraghty adored children and teaching, and had been enjoying life in Dubai.

Investigation

The Oman-registered bus was carrying 31 passengers when the crash took place on Thursday.

The driver, in his 50s, was receiving treatment for minor injuries. An investigation has been launched into just what happened.

Police say the bus crashed into a sign but they did not elaborate on what caused the bus driver to do so.

The force said the dead included different nationalities. At least three others were injured in the crash.

Meanwhile, gardai are investigating a fatal road incident in Kilmaryal, Elphin, Co Roscommon, that took place at 8pm on Thursday.

A pedestrian, in her 60s, was killed when she was struck by a vehicle. The driver, a man in his 50s, was uninjured.

The road was closed for a garda forensic collision examination.

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