Inside two desperate parents’ fight to save their young daughter from a sudden rip – before only one of them made it back alive
- Irish family moved to Australia just six months ago
- Hero dad drowned while trying to rescue his daughter
- It was the third such death in NSW already this year
An Irish family that moved to Australia in July suffered an unimaginable tragedy when Paul and Simonne Doran saw their 11-year-old daughter being swept out to sea.
The family of five were at Seven Mile Beach at Lennox Head in northern NSW last week when young Lyra was caught in a rip.
The brave couple rushed into the waves to save her but the heroic dad, 45, did not make it back alive.
Paul Doran and his wife Simonne moved to Australia with their three children just a few months ago
Irish man Paul Doran was with his wife and three children at Seven Mile Beach (pictured) at Lennox Head on when his daughter was swept out to sea
He managed to reach his daughter and grab onto her body board but eventually lost his grip.
His wife then swam out to Lyra and the two were able to scramble back to the beach where they alerted authorities.
Two police officers, who were first on the scene, entered the surf in an attempt to find the man but were unsuccessful.
Surf lifesavers then arrived and retrieved Mr Doran’s body from the sea.
The devastating drowning on January 18 was, tragically, the third such case in NSW in a matter of weeks.
On New Year’s Day, police officer Peter Stone drowned moments after rescuing his teenage son from a ‘substantial’ rip on the state’s far south coast.
Then on January 3 an unnamed 42-year-old man drowned trying to rescue his teenage daughter who was caught at Black Head on the NSW mid-north coast.
Mr Doran’s family in Ireland opened up about their devastation.
Irish man Paul Doran (pictured) has been remembered as man who wanted the best for his kids
‘We lost Paul when he drowned, while together with his wife, bravely saving their children,’ his brother-in-law Brendan McDonnell told 9News.
‘It is hard to believe that we have lost Paul, and under such traumatic circumstances.
‘He was so looking forward to the future and had so many plans for his family.
‘If you are a parent, or have children in your life, then you know exactly what we mean when we say Paul wanted the best for his kids.’
The devoted dad was keenly involved in the children’s ‘education, playing sports and being involved in different activities, but also spending time together as a family.
The tragedy occurred at Seven Mile Beach (pictured), New South Wales, Australia, at about 6.30pm on Wednesday night
‘Which is exactly what they were doing that evening when he lost his life saving them.’
Paul and Simonne Doran were both crossfit enthusiasts, and lived with their children Vann, Lyra, and Shay in Lennox Head.
Simonne Doran posted a picture of her and her husband on social media, along with a photo of the family together.
One user commented: ‘beyond sad to hear of Paul’s passing… he was such a wonderful soul.’
Police and Surf Lifesaving NSW issued a plea to beachgoers to remain cautious in the sea during the summer months.
The director of Surf Lifesaving NSW Joel Wiseman said that there had been a significant increase in water rescues in recent months.
He attributed the increase to children missing swimming lessons throughout the pandemic.
Mr Wiseman told Sky News Australia: ‘Sadly, we’re playing catch up with trying to increase drowning prevention and strategies across the nation at the moment.’
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