A woman who heroically dived into the sea to save her 10-year-old son from drowning has died. 

Joanna Wisniowśka, of Strzyzow in Poland, got into difficulty at Ballycroneen Beach in Irska, east Cork shortly before 1 p.m. on Sunday. The beach is known for its strong currents and riptides. 

Wisniowśka entered the water to help her son but got into difficulty and the alarm was raised. 

The Rescue 117 helicopter, Ballycotton lifeboat, Crosshaven lifeboat, Guileen Coast Guard, and Ballycotton Coast Guard all responded to the incident and located Wisniowśka in the water. They also airlifted her son after he managed to make his way onto rocks near the shore. 

Wisniowśka was then airlifted to Cork University Hospital (CUH) in a critical condition. She was pronounced dead a short time later despite desperate attempts to stabilize her condition. 

Her son was taken to CUH by ambulance to be assessed. He suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the incident. 

Wisniowśka was originally from Poland but lived in Cloyne, County Cork, with her family for a number of years. 

Local Fine Gael councilor Michael Hegarty told the Irish Times that the local community was shocked and saddened after hearing about the incident. 

"It’s very very sad – the family are originally from Poland but they were well settled here in the community, so our thoughts and prayers are with them but also with their family back in Poland," Hegarty told the Irish Times. 

He added that the community would support the Wisniowśka's family in any way it can over the coming weeks. 

"It’s very tough on the young lad but the local community will not be found wanting when it comes to rallying around and giving him all the support it can – our thoughts and prayers are with them all." 

Locals who witnessed the tragedy told the Irish Independent that the speed of the emergency services' response to the incident was remarkable. 

Cork East Sinn Fein TD Pat Buckley said Wisniowśka, her partner Maciej, and their children Stanislaw and Zofia were deeply rooted in the local community, stating that they "even have an Irish nickname". 

"It is a pure and utter tragedy," Buckley said. (Going to try and save your child) well it is your first reaction as a parent. Your first reaction is to defend." 

"That young fella (Stanislaw) was rowing yesterday morning with East Ferry (Rowing Club) in a regatta. Ballycroneen is a beautiful beach but there can be riptides there."

East Ferry Rowing Club also paid tribute to Wisniowśka and offered their condolences to her partner and children. 

"We would like to extend our deepest condolences to Maciej, her partner, Stanisław, her son, Zofia, her daughter and all extended family and friends. Maciej and Stanisław are both rowers with East Ferry Rowing Club," the club said on Facebook. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by todays tragic news. May Joanna Rest in Peace."