A healthcare worker has been left distraught after her husband and two children were killed when their car plunged into a lake during Storm Ellen.
The victims of last night’s tragedy have been named as garden centre owner John Mullan, 49, and his children Tomas, 14, and Amelia, six, from Moville in Co Donegal, Ireland.
Geraldine Mullan, 45, was in the same car that skidded off the road and overturned late yesterday but managed to escape and raise the alarm.
The family had been on an evening out in nearby Londonderry but faced ‘horrendous conditions’ on the drive home and came off the road at Quigley’s Point.
Local priest John Farren said: ‘Her whole family had been wiped out in one go. She was totally distraught.’
The parish priest of Iskaheen said he prayed with Mrs Mullan over her family’s bodies, which had been placed in a tent at the roadside.
He said: ‘She came into the tent and that was the first time she had seen her family. It was a stressful and emotional moment for her. I gave her time to get her wits about her then we said prayers and I anointed the three bodies. She made a sign of the cross on all three of them.’
The vehicle rolled down a slope and remained lying on the shoreline on Friday, on its roof and badly mangled.
Mr Mullan ran a popular garden centre in Moville and his wife is a nurse manager in the cancer unit in Letterkenny General Hospital, Mr Farren added.
Storm Ellen brought wind speeds of 90mph and heavy rain to Ireland, causing flooding, fallen trees and leaving tens of thousands without power.
The priest said it was wet and windy when he arrived at the scene of the tragedy shortly before midnight.
He said: ‘It was an awful night, the visibility was poor, it was windy and raining, the road was slippery and had recently been resurfaced.
‘The car went down that embankment, which was not very long, and apparently it overturned into the water.
‘The mother managed to free herself and got the children out but the father was trapped inside. The children may have been knocked unconscious.”
He said Mr Mullan was well-known in the local area as a lot of people would buy their flowers and plants from him.
The victims were taken to Letterkenny University Hospital mortuary where post-mortem examinations will be held.
Gardai are appealing for anyone who was travelling on the road between 10pm and 10.30pm on Thursday to come forward.
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