Swiss tourist killed in Storm Ali horror as clifftop caravan blown into Atlantic
A dream holiday to Ireland turned to tragedy for a tourist who died after her caravan was blown into the sea as Storm Ali battered the country.
The woman, named locally as Elvira Ferraii from Switzerland, had arrived in the Clifden area of Galway the day before the tragic incident.
She rented a caravan and was staying at the Clifden Eco Beach camping and caravan site in the Claddaghduff area, along the Atlantic coastline.
At around 7.45am yesterday the caravan was sent tumbling 15 metres into the water after being blown off a rocky ledge, before it was swept ashore.
Emergency services were alerted but Ms Ferraii, who was in her 50s, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Gardai believe the caravan was blown into the ocean by a gust of wind.
It is understood she was travelling on her own and locals said she had arrived in the coastal village on Tuesday.
Gardai said they were preparing a file for the local coroner, who has been notified of the incident.
Ms Ferraii's body was taken to University Hospital Galway where a post-mortem examination was due to be carried out.
One local told the Herald that she had rented a bicycle and the caravan the day before the tragedy.
The bicycle, steps and other items remained near the ledge where the caravan was sited before it was blown into the water.
Workers collected the debris of the caravan last night. Its under-carriage was visible while a mattress and blankets were also collected by workers.
In a statement, the campsite said it would remain closed until further notice, adding: "Thank you for your understanding."
One man at the campsite said people in the area were very upset about the incident.
The site's owners could not be reached for comment.
President Michael D Higgins expressed his condolences to Ms Ferraii's family and also asked people to be cautious if the adverse weather continued.
"I was deeply saddened to learn that Storm Ali has already claimed one victim today in Claddaghduff, Co Galway," he said.
"As President of Ireland, may I express my deepest condolences to her family.
"I would also take this opportunity to pay tribute to all those in statutory and voluntary organisations around the country, who are helping and stand ready to assist their fellow citizens, and who are working to maintain essential services around the country."
In Armagh, one man died and another was seriously injured after a tree fell at the entrance to Slieve Gullion Park.
Storm Ali brought down trees, damaged houses and caused transport paralysis as it swept across Ireland with gusts of up to 150kph.
Across the country hundreds of trees - many weakened by Storm Ophelia and Storm Emma - were toppled in the gusts, causing chaos for the electricity supply network.
Dozens of roads were blocked and power lines brought down from Kerry to Galway and Cork to Dublin.
At the peak, almost 190,000 people were without electricity as the ESB battled to deal with 750 line faults, many in remote areas.
ESB repair crews of more than 2,000 personnel were on standby but they had to wait for wind gusts to ease and it was safe to operate before they could reconnect supplies.
The ESB warned that it could be several days before all customers were fully reconnected.
Damage was also caused to mobile phone and telecommunications masts.
Eir, one of Ireland's biggest telecommunications providers, said more than 80 of its mast sites had lost electrical supply.
Other mobile phone operators said masts had been damaged by the high winds.
Several parks in Dublin were closed amid public safety fears posed by falling trees and flying debris. A number of the famous lime trees on Cork's Centre Park Road - planted to mark the opening of Henry Ford's factory more than a century ago - toppled yesterday, with Cork City Council closing the road amid safety concerns.
Last October, 35 trees were toppled along the historic road during the height of Storm Ophelia.
Property damage was minimal yesterday, though some homeowners had lucky escapes. One Offaly motorist suffered minor injuries when a tree fell in front of his car.
In Blarney, Co Cork, the felt roof was ripped off Sabrina Lehane's home and landed in the garden of another house.
In Galway, neighbours successfully used a JCB's hydraulic arm to help support a roof which was at risk of being ripped off a building at the height of the storm.
Across multiple counties, dozens of roads had to be closed by council and garda units owing to the risk of fallen trees.
The Cliffs of Moher Centre remained closed while the Foyle Bridge was also shut to traffic.
Other tourist attractions such as Skellig Michael and the Battle of the Boyne Centre were also closed amid storm fears.