A mother was left ‘hysterical with grief’ after she was the sole survivor of a car crash that killed her husband and two children last night.
The family were returning from an evening out in nearby Londonderry on Thursday night when their vehicle plunged off the road into Lough Foyle in Donegal, Ireland.
Businessman John Mullan, 49, and children Tomas, 14, and Amelia, six, from Moville, died when their car skidded down an embankment.
Geraldine Mullan, 45, survived the crash and managed to free herself from the car and raise the alarm.
Geraldine Mullan, 45, is the sole survivor of the tragic accident that killed her husband and two children after their car plunged off the road into Lough Foyle near Quigley’s Point in Donegal
It is understood their car plunged into the water at Quigley’s Point at around 10.20pm when Mr Mullan, who was driving, lost control of the vehicle.
The parish priest of Iskaheen said he prayed with Mrs Mullan over her family’s bodies, which had been placed in a tent at the roadside.
Speaking to the BBC, Fr John Farren said that he said 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.’
He recalled: ‘She came into the tent and that was the first time she had seen her family.
‘It was a stressful and emotional moment for her.
‘I gave her time to get her wits about her then we said prayers and I anointed the three bodies.
‘She made a sign of the cross on all three of them.’
John Mullan, 49, and children Tomas, 14, and Amelia, six, from Moville, died when their car (pictured) rolled down a slope on their way home from a day trip
After Mrs Mullen got out of the vehicle and called for help, Gardaí (Irish police) and emergency services arrived at the scene.
Fr Farren added that the ‘sobs of the mum could be heard over the silence’ as the emergency services worked to recover the bodies.
‘Her whole family had been wiped out in one go. She was totally distraught,’ he said.
The vehicle rolled down a slope and remained lying on the shoreline on Friday, on its roof and badly mangled.
Mr Mullan ran a popular garden centre in Moville and his wife is a nurse manager in the cancer unit in Letterkenny General Hospital, Fr Farren added.
The priest said it was wet and windy when he arrived at the scene of the tragedy shortly before midnight.
It was high tide and the waves were white-tipped.
He said: ‘It was an awful night, the visibility was poor, it was windy and raining, the road was slippery and had recently been resurfaced.
The ‘sobs of the mum could be heard over the silence’ as the emergency services worked to recover the bodies
‘The car went down that embankment, which was not very long, and apparently it overturned into the water.
‘The mother managed to free herself and got the children out but the father was trapped inside.
‘The children may have been knocked unconscious.’
He said Mr Mullan was well-known in the local area as a lot of people would buy their flowers and plants from him.
The victims were taken to Letterkenny University Hospital mortuary where post-mortem examinations will be held.
Gardai are appealing for anyone who was travelling on the road between 10pm and 10.30pm on Thursday to come forward.
They want to hear from anyone who may have seen a Black Mitsubishi ASX, registration number 11 DL 1566, in the area at the time.