THE residents of Rehins Fort and the people of Ballina are ‘shattered’ following the tragic death of a six-year-old boy in a drowning accident.
The boy, named locally as Louis Chen, was found unresponsive in a stream close to his home at Rehins Fort, Ballina shortly after he was reported missing by his family at 1pm on Sunday afternoon.
It is understood the boy had been playing close to his home which is located close to the stream which divides the Rehins Fort and Childers Heights estates on the Foxford Road and flows into the River Moy.
When the alarm was raised, a search of the area was conducted by Gardaí and local residents who combed the sides of the stream and the River Moy. The child was taken from the river and CPR was administrated on site before he was removed to Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar. Despite best efforts to revive the boy, he was pronounced dead at 6.30pm on Sunday evening.
The family of the boy have lived in Ballina for the last ten years and run the Ocean Palace Chinese Restaurant on Bury Street and also ran a restaurant of the same name in Swinford.
Local councillor Annie May Reape said the whole community was devastated by the news of the death of young Louis and extended her sympathies to his family who she described as hard working and well respected members of the local community.
“Everyone in Rehins Fort and Childers Heights is shattered by the news and I know they are doing all they can for the family in these difficult times. I have known the family since they came to Ballina especially Louis’ mum, Helen and my heart goes out to them all. They are a hard working family who have made a good life for themselves here in Ballina.
“Due to the restrictions we cannot physically offer our condolences to the family but we are there in spirit for them and offer any limited assistance we can at this time,” she said.
Cllr Reape praised the efforts of the gardaí, emergency services and the local residents who searched the area after the alarm was raised. No funeral arrangements were published at the time of going to print.