Teenager attempted to save drowning friend
on 31/10/2013 00:00:00
The tragedy occurred on a Friday evening on one of the hottest days of the year and was the sixth drowning across the country that week.
In his witness deposition, read out at the inquest in Ennis, Mr O'Donoghue recounted how he was swimming with his friend, Joseph Killen, at a popular bathing and fishing spot, the Headrace Canal, at Ardnacrusha.
Joseph, who turned 17 in April, was a pupil at St Nessan's Community College in Limerick.
In his evidence, Mr O'Donoghue told the court: "We were having the craic jumping in off the bridge and swimming to the bank.
"I saw Joseph swim from the bank to the right across to the bank on the left. He got into trouble around halfway. I saw this and I shouted: 'Are you okay?'
"Joseph was struggling to keep afloat. I ran and got the life ring and threw it in right beside him so he could grab it.
"I saw him go under the water and he didn't come back up. I panicked and I jumped into the water and swam over to where Joseph went under water. I was shouting for him to come back up."
Mr O'Donoghue told the court that gardaí and other emergency services personnel arrived at the scene within minutes.
Garda Brian Delee said that gardaí arrived at the scene and an extensive search for Joseph was undertaken, with his body recovered from the water at 6.15pm, directly below where he was last seen alive.
In his deposition, Anthony Cusack of the Marine Search and Rescue said he conducted a dive where Joseph was last seen and retrieved the body from the water.
The autopsy confirmed that there was no trace of any alcohol in Joseph's system and that his death was due to drowning.
Coroner Isobel O'Dea praised the efforts Mr O'Donoghue made in trying to save the life of his friend.
"Well done, Michael, on your efforts to save your friend," she said.
Ms O'Dea said she remembered the day very well, as it was an extremely warm day. She returned a verdict of accidental death.
Joseph Killeen is survived by his parents, brother and sisters.