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Safety review call after second vehicle plunges into lake outside Donemana

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Safety review call after second vehicle plunges into lake outside Donemana thumbnailThe dramatic scene after a van plunged into 'The Duck Pond' on the Longland Road, near Donemana, on Thursday night. (Photo courtesy of James Whorriskey).

A LOCAL district councillor has called for a safety review of a stretch of road near Donemana after a second vehicle plunged into a deep roadside lake in the area last week.

Two men, who are understood to be from the Greysteel area, were returning home from work in Artigarvan when their van left the Longland Road and plunged 40ft down a deep embankment into a lake.

As the van began to sink into the water, the pair managed to escape from the vehicle and swim to safety.

The dramatic incident unfolded on Thursday evening with cranes on site on Friday to recover the sunken van.

The PSNI has confirmed that it assisted in a road closure in order to allow for the recovery of the vehicle.

"The road was closed between 5.15pm and 8.50pm for the recovery operation," a spokesperson said.

It is the second terrifying incident at the lake known locally as 'The Duck Pond'. In September, Dungiven father-of-three, Emmett Teggart, who is believed to work at the same creamery plant as the van driver and his passenger, had a lucky escape when his 4x4 jeep careered down the same steep incline and into the icy water.

At the time, Mr Teggart described using his headrest to smash a window and swim to safety. He said he had acted on the advice circulated after five members of the same family drowned when their car slid off a pier in Buncrana earlier this year.

Local people in the Donemana area believe that on oil spillage on the road is most likely at fault for the recent incidents, however this has been unconfirmed.

Speaking yesterday (Tuesday), councillor Allan Bresland, who sits on Derry City and Strabane District Council, says TransportNI must now consider implementing safety measures in the area.

"The Duck Pond has been there for as long as I can remember but it's only recently that there has been any incidents like these. To my mind, there's been nothing of the likes of this in past years.

"The pond is very deep and is about 20 yards after a sweeping right-hand bend as you leave Donemana. I suppose if you're not familiar with the area you wouldn't know that it's there at all.

"Now that there has been two incidents within a short space of each other, I would think Roads Service will have to look at what they can do to make it safer for other motorists. Money is obviously tight but something like a barrier or road warning signs to alert people coming from both directions would be good.

"Thankfully the men involved in the recent incidents managed to get out and weren't seriously hurt. They were very lucky. It's a warning to others just to be careful when travelling in the area."

Cllr Bresland's DUP colleague and Foyle MLA., Gary Middleton, has also echoed calls for a safety review.

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