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Arranmore: Leigh Early dies after car slips off pier

Leigh Early Image copyright Arranmore Ferry
Image caption Leigh Early was skipper of the Arranmore ferry

A man has died after a car went off a pier on a County Donegal island in the Republic of Ireland.

He has been named locally as 26-year-old Leigh Early, who was skipper of the Arranmore ferry.

He was one of two men in the vehicle when it entered the water at Poolawaddy Pier on Arranmore island at about 05:10 local time on Sunday.

The second man, 30, escaped from the car and got to safety, according to gardaí (Irish police).

Image copyright RTÉ

Councillor Noreen McGarvey said it was her understanding that the driver "went to turn near the pier at Poolawaddy in Arranmore and the car slipped off the pier".

"It was just an horrendous, tragic accident," the Fianna Fáil councillor told BBC Radio Foyle.

"The passenger managed to get out of the car but unfortunately the driver just couldn't get out."

She said that through his job, Mr Early met hundreds of people every day and was "such a friendly, vibrant, member of the ferry crew".

"To wake up this morning and hear this news is absolutely devastating for the close-knit community of Arranmore Island."

Mr Early volunteered on the island's RNLI lifeboat.

Owen Medland of the RNLI said Mr Early "was a great seafarer" who was "very much part of this close knit community".

"One thing we do know for certain is this community is suffering a great loss. They are shocked and mourning the loss of one of that family," he said.

'Absolutely devastating'

Gardaí said a post-mortem examination on Mr Early's body will take place on Monday.

Almost four years ago, five members of one family from County Londonderry drowned when their car slid off a pier at Buncrana, County Donegal.

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