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Emergency services slam members of the public who videoed recovery of victims from River Shannon

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
Rescue services at the bridge
Rescue services at the bridge

A source in the emergency services has slammed members of the public who they said stood and videoed the recovery of the victims from the River Shannon after yesterday’s tragedy.

Two men, who were stone masons from Co Clare and Co Kerry, had been standing in a cage platform while carrying out specialised remedial works on Thomond Bridge in Limerick City, when the platform plunged into the river around 3.45pm.

They have been named locally as Timothy "TJ" O'Herlihy, from Tullig, Castleisland, and Brian Whelan, from Broadford, near O'Brien's Bridge, Co Clare.

A cable attached to a crane that had been holding the cage with the men inside snapped, sending the men and the platform into the river.

Mr O'Herlihy and Mr Whelan -- who were wearing life jackets that were attached to the cage -- were found trapped two feet under the surface by divers attached to Limerick Marine Search and Rescue Service (LMSRS) and Limerick City Fire Service.

A third man managed to free himself from his harness and was rescued floating along the river by LMSRS.

According to one of the divers involved in the emergency response, the two men had not succeeded in disconnecting their life jackets from the cage and effectively became trapped under the water.

A source in the emergency services slammed members of the public who they said stood and videoed the recovery of the victims from the river.

"It's been very upsetting for all of us. There were people actually videoing it all. They should be prosecuted," the source said.

"There were people trying to save these guys lives and other people were videoing it. It's appalling. It's very hard."

The cage wreckage was raised last night and Thomond Bridge was reopened after it was closed for several hours.

A spokesperson for Limerick City Council said the remedial works on Thomond Bridge would be postponed for the foreseeable future.

Investigations are been carried out by the Health and Safety Authority and the Gardaí.