A mum is grieving the death of her husband and two children who died when their car plunged into the sea on Thursday night.
The sole survivor of the crash was said to be “hysterical from grief” at the scene of her husband and kids’ deaths.
The family from Moville, Ireland, was returning from a trip to Derry when tragedy struck on a stretch of road at the Three Trees near Quigley’s Point, which had recently been resurfaced.
John Mullan, 49, was driving the family’s black Mitsubishi SUV when he lost control of the car and it plunged down an embankment and into Lough Foyle, the Irish Mirror reports.
He died after he became trapped in the vehicle, while stepson Tomas, 14, and daughter Amelia, 6, managed to get out of the car but tragically died.
Geraldine Mullan, 45, was able to scramble onto the upturned wreckage of the car where she was rescued.
She was taken to Letterkenny University Hospital where her injuries are not life-threatening, although Gardai say she is severely traumatised.
A local priest attended the scene soon after the crash, and has described the situation as “beyond words”.
Father John Farren said he prayed with Mrs Mullan at the crash site for a short time and that she was “hysterical from grief”.
“She was completely shocked… totally distressed and I was with her when we prayed with the three deceased,” he said.
“Seeing two children lying dead beside their father, that was the traumatic part of last night’s tragedy.”
Mr Mullan worked at the Moville garden centre and Mrs Mullan is a nurse at Letterkenny University Hospital.
Local county councillor Martin Farren knew the family well and said he and the rest of Moville are in shock at the tragedy.
“It’s just impossible to put into words how people are feeling in the community right now, it’s just devastating,” he said.
“You simply couldn’t have met nicer people and anybody will say the same. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time, such a very, very sad time.”
Moville Community College, where Tomás was about to enter his third year, is offering support to his friends and classmates.
“Tomás was an extremely popular second-year student with a close circle of friends,” school principal Anthony Doogan said.
“He loved Judo and was a keen musician.
“One of my abiding memories of Tomas will be of a young man walking to his music lessons with his accordion slung over his back. He will be deeply missed by his family and close friends.”
Garda Superintendent Eugene McGovern of Buncrana Garda station said the wet and windy weather on Thursday made for poor driving conditions.
“We still don’t know what caused Mr Mullan to veer off the road but we will carry out a full investigation into all the circumstances,” he said.
“It is just difficult to find words for the families involved. Mr and Mrs Mullan’s families have been informed of the situation and that is why we are now releasing their names.
“This is an awful tragedy for the immediate families but also for the wider community as the family are well known and respected in the locality,” he said.
He is appealing to anybody who was in the area at the time who may have noticed anything to contact them.
“We have already received a lot of information but anybody who may have been in the area and witnessed anything to contact us at Buncrana Garda Station on (074) 9320540, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.”