The father of rescued American tourist Kelly Jones has revealed her fascination with all things Irish – and thanked the people of Donegal for saving his daughter’s life.

Ricky Jones is maintaining a bedside vigil at Sligo General Hospital as his 41-year-old daughter Kelly recovers from her five day ordeal.

She was found after an exhaustive search just yards away from the centre of the rescue operation in the West Donegal village of Glemcolumbkille.

Kelly, a catering worker with a history of depression, was discovered inside a holiday home which police believe she entered on her own.


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Still under observation at the Sligo hospital, Kelly has no recollection of how she ended up in the locked house, five days after she was last seen departing on a hill-walking tour near her village hostel base.

As police await psychological test results, Kelly’s dad Ricky has confirmed that his daughter cannot recall how she came to be in the holiday home or any other details of her five day ordeal.

Georgia resident Ricky hopes to bring his daughter home to the States on Tuesday and has thanked the people of Donegal and the 120 volunteers for their help in the $70,000 search and rescue mission.

“My daughter Kelly has been fascinated by Ireland and Irish culture since she was about eight-years-old,” said Ricky.

“She has visited Ireland three times now. This story is not about Kelly, but about the Irish people and what they have done for Kelly and her family and friends.”

Jones also thanked US embassy officials, police, Donegal Mountain Rescue and Killybegs Cliff and Rescue teams as well as the Coastguard and local volunteers.

“They wouldn’t quit until they found Kelly,” he added.