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Father drowns trying to save son and son's girlfriend

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A father drowned after jumping into the sea to try and save his son and his son's girlfriend.

The girlfriend, Niamh O’Connor, 20, had been on an outing with her boyfriend's family when she was swept into the sea by a wave near Baltimore Harbour in the Irish country of Cork.

Boyfriend Barry Davis Ryan, 21, jumped into the sea to rescue her but got into difficulties.

His father, Barry Ryan, 51, the son of the founder of retail giants Primark, then entered the water to try and save the duo. But he too found himself in trouble, and started shouting for help.

Search is still on

Mr Ryan's 12-year-old daughter Charlotte, who was also on the outing, ran to get help.

Two tourists heard her cries and called the authorities.

The Baltimore Lifeboat crew arrived within 10 minutes, but by then, it was too late – Miss O’Connor and the senior Mr Ryan's bodies were found floating in the water.

Paramedics were unable to resuscitate them and they were pronounced dead.

The tragedy happened on Tuesday (June 30) at around 6.40pm.

Authorities are still searching for the body of the younger Mr Ryan.

Deeply traumatised

The older Mr Ryan was the son of 79-year-old Arthur Ryan, the founder of clothing empire Primark.

He worked as a director of the company which has about 190 stores across the UK.

A relative of the family said Mrs Ryan had just gone through a difficult period, reported Irish Mirror.

"Her mum died last year and that hit her hard and now this. It’s just too much.

"She has her husband’s body but her poor young son is still out there and we are all just hoping and praying they find him soon."

Charlotte is deeply traumatised, having witnessed her dad and brother drown, reported Mirror.

A relative of the Ryans said: "She (Charlotte) said, 'I can’t believe they’re dead'. How do you say to a 12-year-old child... how to make sense of that? You just can't."

Sources: Mirror, Irish Mirror, Metro, RTE News, The Irish Times