Northern Ireland

Witnesses describe rescue attempt at Lurgan Park lake

A witness to the failed rescue of a 51-year-old man from an icy lake in Lurgan Park has said while watching the incident unfold he had "the feeling that it wasn't going to end well".

Police were told at 1400 GMT on Sunday that a man had fallen through the ice.

A police helicopter managed to hoist the man from the water onto the ice, but as other emergency services tried to reach him in a boat, it capsized.

The man was recovered, but was declared dead on arrival at hospital.

The man's name has not yet been released but SDLP Craigavon council candidate Anna Ochal-Molanda has released a statement saying that he was a member of the Polish community.

John McCaugherty who witnessed the rescue attempt said that initially he thought the rescue was going to succeed.

Terrible feeling

"You see the helicopter and you feel safe and there's a lot of police," he said.

"But the more it went on the more you got the feeling it wasn't going to end well.

"It was a terrible feeling and everybody standing around was aghast, they just couldn't believe it and then when the boat went over with the rescuers in it, you knew then that this was not going to be good."

Police said two fire service officers and a paramedic fell into the water when the boat capsized.

The conditions in the lake were described as "treacherous".

Meta Crozier saw two of the emergency service staff who had been in the boat swim ashore and one being rescued by the Fire Service special rescue team. They were later taken to hospital.

"When they pulled them out, they were just so cold. They couldn't get heat back into them and they were so red, it was a horrible thing to see," she said.

The 51-year-old man, who was the focus of the initial rescue operation, was brought to shore and tended to by paramedics and an off duty doctor who had been in the area at the time.

He was later transferred to Craigavon Area Hospital by the coastguard helicopter where he was declared on arrival.

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