Additional reporting by Conall O Fatharta and Greg Murphy
Two men have died in a diving incident in Co Tipperary.
The tragedy unfolded at the Portroe Dive Centre, Portroe Quarry, around 1.30pm.
The two men’s bodies have been removed from the scene to University of Limerick where autopsies are expected to take place later.
A major search and rescue operation swung into place involving Killaloe Coast Guard, gardaí, and ambulance personnel.
Kilaloe Coast Guard has been returning to their base from another fallout when they immediately responded to the alert at the quarry.
The Coast Guard Search and Rescue Helicopter, based at Shannon Airport, was tasked to respond to the emergency alert, but it’s crew was stood down after the bodies of both divers were recovered and pronounced dead at the scene.
A garda spokesman said: “Gardaí attended an incident in Portroe, Co Tipperary where two males have drowned.
“The males are believed to have been diving when they got into trouble at approximately 1:30pm.
“The bodies of both men have been removed to Limerick University Hospital where [autopsies] are due to take place.“
Garda sources said they were treating the incident as a “tragic accident”.
According to Portroe Dive Centre’s Facebook page it was due to re-open Saturday, after closing last March, in line with Covid-19 public health guidelines on social distancing.
According to the dive centre’s website, Portroe Quarry is “one of the best inland dive locations in Ireland” and is “always divable regardless of weather conditions”.
It stated: “Portroe slate quarry opened up five years ago as a dive centre.” Divers can explore deep water of up to 40m featuring car wrecks, an underwater pub, construction machinery, stone huts, and a sunken boat, it added.
A spokesman for the dive centre was not available for comment.