Mother who died after fall from boat on Lough Erne was checking mooring ropes

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By Hannah Spratt and David Young

A mother who died after falling from a boat while on holiday in Northern Ireland slipped while checking its mooring ropes, police have said.

The woman's husband dived into the waters of Lough Erne but failed to find her.

The couple, from Co Donegal in the Irish Republic, were in a hired cruiser with their two young children when the incident happened shortly after 1am.

The dead woman was in her 30s.

The boat was moored at Devenish Island, a popular visitor attraction near Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.

It is understood she was checking the vessel was securely tied to the jetty before going to bed when she slipped and fell into the water.

Emergency services found her body just before 2am. Intensive attempts to resuscitate her failed.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Inspector Clive Beatty said the woman's husband dived into the lough to search for her.

"Police arrived a very short time later with all the other emergency services and at 0154 hours we recovered a body from the water," he said.

"We performed CPR ourselves and transferred then to the ambulance who continued to conduct CPR until 0257 hours when unfortunately she was pronounced deceased at hospital."

Mr Beatty said the two children were asleep on the boat when their mother fell into the water.

"They are a family from Donegal and they were up here on holiday just for the Easter weekend," he told BBC Radio Ulster.

"We'd like to extend our sympathies to the family at this very tragic time."

LISTEN: Chief Inspector Clive Beatty discusses rescue operation on Lough Erne.

 Former Stormont first minister Arlene Foster, an Assembly member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, extended her condolences.

The Democratic Unionist leader said: "This is heartbreaking news for the area. I want to extend my sympathy, thoughts and prayers to the friends and family of this young woman. The death of a young life will come as an immense shock to this area and in particular the woman's family.

"Lough Erne and Devenish Island is often pictured as a scene of beauty but today it is the scene of such tragic circumstances. I wish to thank the emergency services and the RNLI who attended the scene. As we enter into the holiday period, I would urge everyone to exercise caution while on the water."

Sinn Fein Assembly member Jemma Dolan said: "The news of the death of a woman in her 30s in a boating tragedy in Lough Erne near Devenish Island has shocked the local community.

"I'd like to commend the efforts of the emergency crews who came to the scene to provide assistance.

"My thoughts are with the family and friends of this young woman from Donegal at this difficult time."

Enniskillen RNLI were tasked on Thursday morning to reports of a person in the water at Devenish West jetty.

A lifeboat was launched and assisted police in caring for the victim before transferring her to waiting paramedics on the mainland.

Local fire crew provided assistance on the mainland.

A statement said: "All involved at Enniskillen RNLI would like to pass on their condolences to the family and friends who are in our thoughts and prayers."

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