The brother and sister who tragically drowned at a beach in Ballybunion, Co Kerry yesterday, August 4, have been named locally as Desmond Byrne, 50, and Muriel Eriksson, 62, RTÉ reports.

The siblings were understood to have been holidaying in the area; Byrne had an address in Lecarrow, Co Roscommon, while Eriksson had an address in Malmo, Sweden. 

Irish Coast Guard Operations Manager Mícheál O'Toole told RTÉ Radio One's Morning Ireland on Friday: "Just after 6 o'clock yesterday evening, the Irish coastguard received notifications of persons potentially in difficulty in the Ballybunion Bay area.

"Immediately the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre at Valentia in Co Kerry initiated a large-scale search and rescue operation.

"The Ballybunion community inshore rescue boat, Ballybunion Coast Guard unit, the Kilrush lifeboat, and the Shannon-based Coast Guard search-and-rescue helicopter were all tasked to the scene."

"Shortly afterward, we received information that an initial casualty had been recovered from the water by the local lifeguard.

"At that point, the operation was also being supported by An Garda Síochána, the National Ambulance service, some local community first responders, and the community air ambulance service.

"The Ballybunion community inshore rescue boat recovered another casualty from the water.

"Unfortunately there was a tragic outcome to the operation. Our thoughts must be with the family and friends of those affected by this incident."

O'Toole said the conditions in Ballybunion were "fair" and "good" for a search and rescue operation.

O'Toole said that while An Garda Síochána are continuing their investigations, the scene would suggest that the siblings were "swimming-based activities" at the time.

Both bodies were removed to the mortuary in University Hospital Kerry in Tralee, with a postmortem due to take place on Friday.