Primark heir drowns and son feared dead in tragic rescue attempt

Primark heir drowns and son feared dead in tragic rescue attempt

RESCUE teams are continuing to search for the body of Primark founder Arthur Ryan’s grandson - who is feared dead after attempting to save his girlfriend who was swept away by a freak wave. 

Barry Ryan, 21, found himself in difficulty after he leapt into the sea off Baltimore, Co. Cork on Tuesday evening (June 30) to save Niamh O’Connor, 20, who had been dragged in.

Ryan’s 51-year-old father, also called Barry Ryan, who is the heir to the Primark fortune, was with the pair when the accident struck.

Having spotted the couple struggling in the water, he told his 14-year-old daughter Charlotte to raise the alarm before diving in himself.

The bodies of Barry Snr and Ms O'Connor were recovered within minutes of the incident taking place, but Barry Jnr is feared drowned as his body is yet to be found.

The Naval Service and West Cork Rescue Divers (WCRD) have extended their search area in a bid to locate his body before poor weather conditions hamper their efforts.

John Kearney of WCRD said that every attempt is being made to recover his remains.

"The aim is to cover as much of the area as possible while the weather conditions are still favourable," he said last night.

Barry Snr’s partner Ann is being comforted by family and friends in the family’s home in Lackaghane, as she attempts to come to terms with the heartbreak of losing two of her loved ones.

Arthur Ryan, 79, opened his first store Penneys in Dublinn 1969, and has since gone on to become one of Ireland’s richest men.

The first Primark store opened in Britain five years later.