Following a freak accident at the Back Beach area of Maharees in Dingle, Co Kerry, Niamh McCarthy, 19, has died from her injuries. McCarthy, a native of Minane Bridge in Co Cork, was on holiday with friends in the area celebrating the end of their first year exams.

While enjoying the warm weather, McCarthy and her friends were digging in a dune in order to climb up and jump into it, which is reportedly a popular activity. However, disaster struck when the sand dune suddenly shifted and McCarthy became trapped within.

It is believed that McCarthy may have been trapped under the sand for up to a half hour while friends and nearby beach-goers attempted to dig her out. Two units of Tralee Fire Brigade, two ambulances, and gardaí arrived. The Valentia Coastguard was also notified.

McCarthy was unconscious when emergency services arrived, and desperate attempts were made by paramedics who arrived at the scene. The rescue attempt was hindered slightly by the relatively isolated location of the dune, about a half mile out from the main road. However, with the tide being out, the ambulance was able to drive on the beach to the scene.

"They literally had to dig her out but she was there for some time," said a spokesman of the rescue team. "They deserve great credit for their efforts."

McCarthy was transported to Kerry General Hospital, about 20 miles from the scene, with a doctor by her side.

Despite valiant efforts from rescue teams and people on the beach, RTE News later reported that McCarthy passed away from the injuries she sustained yesterday afternoon. People of the area, which is known for attracting vacationers, are said to be “gobsmacked” by the terrible incident.

Niamh McCarthyThe Irish Sun