River Lee drown­ing vic­tim ‘a hero’

Irish Examiner - - News - Ryan O’Rourke

The man who drowned in the River Lee while go­ing to the res­cue of an­other has been de­scribed as a hero in the com­mu­nity.

Bernard Geasley, 38, of In­nish­more, Ballincol­lig, Co Cork, trag­i­cally lost his life af­ter he en­tered the wa­ter at Ballincol­lig Re­gional Park in a bid to save an­other man from the strong cur­rent of the river.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened at ap­prox­i­mately 8.30pm on Sun­day. Cork City Search and Res­cue, Mal­low Search and Res­cue, the Coast Guard, Ballincol­lig Fire Ser­vice, and An Garda Síochána at­tended the scene.

Un­for­tu­nately, de­spite the best ef­forts of the emer­gency ser­vices, Mr Geasley’s body was re­cov­ered from the river at ap­prox­i­mately 12.30am.

Colm Kelle­her, a lo­cal coun­cil­lor from Ballincol­lig, de­scribed Mr Geasley as hav­ing a “heart of gold”.

“Lord rest his soul. He would have been the same age as my brother and they would have been friends as chil­dren. He was a lovely man. It’s hor­ri­ble what hap­pened to him.”

The Fianna Fáil coun­cil­lor de­scribed the area of the river as treach­er­ous and said he put in a re­quest for ad­di­tional sig­nage warn­ing peo­ple of the dan­ger.

“The area where they were would be is a no­to­ri­ously dan­ger­ous spot,” he said.

“Espe­cially since the weir col­lapsed in 2014, it has changed the cur­rents on the river and can be very de­ceiv­ing at times. We all would have gone swim­ming there as chil­dren. Un­for­tu­nately, it got the bet­ter of Bernard, and he lost his life. It’s a tragic day for the vil­lage.”

Mr Geasley has been de­scribed lo­cally as a hero for his ac­tions.

Derry Canty, who has been a coun­cil­lor in the area for the past 28 years, said there has been a num­ber of near-misses in the area in re­cent times.

“Since the weir col­lapsed, the wa­ter comes down from the dam so fast,” he said.

“When the weir was there, it did some­thing to stop the flow. Without it, it has be­come even more dan­ger­ous. It cre­ates dan­ger­ous cur­rents and whirlpools and un­for­tu­nately now, some­one has lost their life.

“I would like to ex­tend my deep­est sym­pa­thies to the fam­ily and to the man’s brother. It is a very sad day for the area.”

A spokesper­son for An Garda Síochána con­firmed that they are treat­ing the in­ci­dent as a tragic ac­ci­dent.

“Garda and emer­gency ser­vices at­tended the scene of a fa­tal drown­ing in­ci­dent that oc­curred in the Ballincol­lig Re­gional Park area at ap­prox­i­mately 8.30pm,” the spokesper­son said.

“A man, aged in his 40s, was taken from the wa­ter af­ter get­ting into dif­fi­culty and was later pro­nounced dead at the scene. The lo­cal coro­ner’s of­fice has been no­ti­fied. The man’s re­mains were re­moved to Cork Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal. In­ves­ti­ga­tions are on­go­ing.”

More than 100 peo­ple drowned in Ire­land last year.

Bernard Geasley who drowned in the River Lee at Ballincol­lig.

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