PHOTOS - Severe Flooding Ireland - October 2011 slideshow

A rescue effort has cost a 25-year-old off-duty police officer and Wicklow county footballer his life as storms lash the East coast of Ireland.

Ciaran Jones was swept away close to his Wicklow home as he tried to warn motorists to avoid a bridge under danger of collapse.

His brother and a friend watched in horror as the young officer was swept into the bulging River Liffey as he tried to help people caught in dangerous floods at Ballysmuttan Bridge near his Manor Kilbride residence.



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Ciaran’s body was found early on Tuesday morning, some 12 hours after he was pulled into the river while trying to aid a motorist at risk of becoming stranded as the bridge looked ready to collapse.

Witnesses described how officer Jones, based at the Stepaside station in Dublin, jumped from his own car to warn oncoming motorists of the danger.

The Irish Coast Guard, the Garda (police) helicopter and mountain and river rescue teams joined Jones’ colleagues in the search before his body was discovered at Ballyward Bridge, near Manor Kilbride.

The Jones family are being supported by friends and colleagues of the dead officer. His parents are on their way back to Ireland after a holiday abroad.

A prominent GAA player with the local Kilbride team, Jones was a member of the Wicklow squad managed by Mick O’Dwyer for the past four years.

PHOTOS - Severe Flooding Ireland - October 2011 slideshow