THE son of Primark founder Arthur Ryan drowned as his daughter watched on in horror, a Coroner’s court was told.
Barry Ryan Snr dived into the sea off Baltimore in west Cork last summer in a bid to rescue his son Barry Davis Ryan, 20, and his son’s girlfriend Niamh O’Connor, 20, when a freak wave swept them off a rock.
On June 30, 2015 the group had gone fishing on rocks at around 6pm.
Charlotte Davis Ryan, 13, said in a statement that at first her brother Barry began fishing off a rock, while the other three sat nearby.
His girlfriend Ms O’Connor then joined him, but they were hit by a wave and the pair were swept out to sea.
Clonakilty court heard that Barry Ryan Snr told Charlotte to climb up the rocks as he attempted to rescue his son and Ms O’Connor.
— The Irish Times (@IrishTimes) 14 July 2015
Charlotte said that she saw both her dad and Ms O’Connor struggling in the water, but had lost sight of her brother and began to panic.
When she attempted to reach safety she encountered three Welsh tourists who raised the alarm.
The tourists said that Charlotte was in shock as she explained that she had seen her family drown.
The Irish Independent reported that she said : “I know they are dead – I saw their heads go down. My family have drowned. I know they have.”
The court recorded a verdict of accidental death in regards to Barry Ryan Snr, his son Barry Davis Ryan and Ms O’Connor.
Coronor Frank O’Connell described Barry Ryan Snr’s attempts to rescue his son and his son’s girlfriend as extremely brave.
“His actions are a testimony to his quality as a man,” he said.
Kieran Cotter, Coxswain of the Baltimore Lifeboat, told how the bodies of Barry Ryan Snr and Ms O’Connor were recovered quickly, and how divers discovered the body of Barry Davis Ryan ten days later.