Tragic sea swimmer with ‘a huge smile’ who died at NI beach is named locally - ‘we would implore others to avoid swimming in such dangerous conditions’

The sea swimmer who died yesterday at a NI beach has been named locally.

She has been named as Mary Feeney from Co Donegal.

Ms Feeney had established a career as a landscape artist and moved to Co Down several years ago.

Yesterday emergency services were rushed to Bangor after a swimmer got into difficulty.

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Bangor Coastguard pic of sceneBangor Coastguard pic of scene
Bangor Coastguard pic of scene

It has been reported that a member of the emergency services swam to the woman and started CPR on her while still in the water.

And members of the public ran to a nearby car to bring a medical kit to the scene.

All emergency services attended the scene after a 999 call was made to the Belfast Coastguard shortly after 10.45am on Tuesday.

However she was carried unconscious to the shore near Pickie Pool.

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Fellow sea swimmer, Marie-Therese Davis Hanson - who is also an artist from Bangor - said: “Mary was a lovely lady, fellow artist and seaswimmer based in Bangor.

“She swam with a small group of friends usually at Skippingstone Beach near Pickie Park.

“I used to see her walking up the Bryansburn Road in her wetsuit, hair dripping and a huge smile on her face.

“The open water swimming community around Bangor and beyond are still in shock at Mary’s tragic death. So sad.

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“Swimming in the sea is such a joy for us. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this extremely difficult time.”

She added that members of a regular swimming group the late Mary Feeney had been a member of “did not swim this morning out of respect and instead gathered to pause and reflect”.

In a statement on social media RNLI Bangor said: “The officers and crew of RNLI Bangor would like to extend their sympathy to the family and friends of the woman who drowned this morning at Skippingstone Beach in Bangor.

“Despite the heroic efforts of our volunteer crew, there was little we could do other than move the woman to the shelter of a nearby inlet where she could be attended to by the ambulance service.

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“During the attempted rescue, realising that the boat could not get close enough to the casualty because of the weather, wind, and rocks, one of our crew, Gavin Mitchell, made the selfless decision to jump into the water with a lifeline attached to offer any assistance he could.

“This is something our volunteer crews train for and practice regularly, hoping their expertise will never be needed.

“Sadly, the tragic outcome could not be avoided by his actions, and we would implore others to avoid swimming in such dangerous conditions.

Rest in Peace.”

A PSNI spokesman yesterdya said: “Police can confirm that the body of a woman was recovered at Skippingstone Beach in Bangor earlier today.

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“A post mortem will be carried out in due course however the death is not being treated as suspicious at this time.”

A spokesman from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said: “The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service received a 999 call at 11.53 on

Tuesday, 13 October 2020 following reports of a an incident at Marine Gardens Area, Bangor.

“NIAS despatched two Emergency crew, and one Doctor to the scene.

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“The charity Air Ambulance with HEMs crew on board was also tasked to the incident.

“Following assessment and initial treatment at the scene, no one was taken to


Northern Ireland Ambulance Service sent two emergency crews and a doctor to the scene.

The charity air ambulance was also tasked.


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