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'heartbroken' Tributes paid to tragic lifeguard Conor King (22) who died in horror cliff fall

The 22 year old’s body was recovered shortly after midnight following a painstaking operation which was supported by various emergency services agencies

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Conor King who lost his life in a tragic accident

Conor King who lost his life in a tragic accident

Conor King who lost his life in a tragic accident

Tributes have been paid to a trained lifeguard who died in a freak cliff fall tragedy in Cork.

The young man, named locally as Conor King (22), suffered fatal head injuries when he stumbled into a 20m blow-hole on a clifftop outside Garretstown in Cork on Saturday evening - with a friend who bravely went to his rescue becoming trapped and having to be rescued from a precarious perch on the cliff crevice.

It is believed the young man didn't see the entrance to the blow-hole - a crevice leading to a deep sea cave - as he walked along the headland in fading light late on Saturday evening.

Tragically, he was to celebrate his 23rd birthday in four days.

He was camping with friends in the scenic area to avail of the glorious weekend sunshine.

The blow-hole is located west of Garretstown and near the picturesque Old Head of Kinsale.

The 22 year old’s body was recovered shortly after midnight following a painstaking operation which was supported by various emergency services agencies.

Parts of the Cork coast are littered with blow holes which often lead down into deep sea caves.

The recovery operation was coordinated by the Valentia Coast Guard and supported by the Shannon-based Sikorsky helicopter Rescue 115.

Gardaí, local RNLI units, the Old Head of Kinsale Coast Guard unit, a specialist cave rescue team and paramedics were all involved.

The Old Head of Kinsale Coast Guard unit managed to successfully get the trapped young rescuer to safety - and then recovered the body of the young man who had fallen into the blow hole late on Saturday evening.

The 22 year old is understood to have died instantly in the 20m fall onto rocks below.

He was pronounced dead at the scene despite desperate attempts by paramedics to resuscitate him.

His body was later removed to Cork University Hospital (CUH) where a full post mortem examination is expected to be carried out on Monday.

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Gardaí, local RNLI units, the Old Head of Kinsale Coast Guard unit, a specialist cave rescue team and paramedics were all involved. Stock picture

Gardaí, local RNLI units, the Old Head of Kinsale Coast Guard unit, a specialist cave rescue team and paramedics were all involved. Stock picture

Gardaí, local RNLI units, the Old Head of Kinsale Coast Guard unit, a specialist cave rescue team and paramedics were all involved. Stock picture

The young man who was trapped while attempting the rescue was treated for non-life threatening injuries and suspected hypothermia at the scene.

He was also taken to CUH for precautionary assessment.

Tributes were last night paid to Mr King who lived in Douglas but had attended secondary school first in Glanmire and latterly in Cork city at Christian Brothers College.

The young man was a keen sports fan and loved swimming and playing rugby.

He was working over recent times in the leisure centre of the Rochestown Park Hotel.

"Conor was a beautiful young man who was liked by all his colleagues and always seemed to have a smile on his face," one workmate said.

"No one can believe what happened. We are all shocked and heartbroken."

"Our deepest sympathies go to his family and friends."

Last night, Munster Technology University (MTU) paid tribute to Mr King, who was a third year student at the college.

"It is with regret that I confirm the young student who died in last night’s accident near Garretstown Beach in Co.Cork was a third year student at MTU," MTU Head of Student Affairs Dr Dan Collins said.

"Conor King was studying for his Bachelor of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering.

"Our thoughts are with Conor’s family to whom we offer our deepest sympathy, and with his friends, as well as his classmates at MTU and colleagues in the Department and at the Faculty."

"We will continue to keep Conor’s family in our thoughts as well as the other young man currently recovering."

Gardaí are treating the matter as a tragic accident and a file will now be prepared for the Cork Coroner for an inquest to be staged next year.

The tragedy occurred on what proved to be the busiest weekend of the year to date for emergency services in terms of nationwide coastal rescues.

Coast Guard and Water Safety Ireland have appealed to people to exercise caution near seas, rivers and lakes during the current fine weather spell.

WSI warned that water temperatures are still quite low with resultant safety concerns for swimmers and those engaged in water sports.


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