LATEST: Two confirmed killed in River Shannon tragedy
Two men have been killed in a catastrophic disaster on the River Shannon this evening.
Three men were carrying out structural works to Thomond Bridge, when a cable attached to a crane that was holding a cage in which they were standing snapped.
The cage was quickly released from the crane and plunged into the river, trapping the men under the surface.
According to a source, two men were trapped inside the cage under the water for a number of minutes before rescue divers could reach them.
A third man who had been in the cage at the time managed to free himself while under the surface and swim to safety.
The shocking incident sparked a major emergency operation involving the Shannon-based Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter, Limerick City Fire Service and the Limerick Marine Search and Rescue Service.
“There were three men in a cage doing pointing work on the outside of Thomond Bridge. The cage snapped on a crane system and went into the water,” said a source.
“They were all trapped in the cage under the water.”
“One got free and was taken to hospital for observation.”
“The other two men were taken from the cage by divers from the Limerick Marine Search and Rescue Service and the swift water rescue swimmers from Limerick Fire Service.”
“They were unconscious.”
One of the two is understood to have suffered a cardiac arrest before being brought to hospital.
The two critically-injured men were taken from the water and handed immediately to HSE paramedics who were waiting in an ambulance.