An inquest was told today that a 31-year-old doctor was drowned when her car suddenly reversed at speed through a safety barrier into a swollen river in Castlebar, close to midnight on January 20th last.
The victim was Pakistani born Dr. Farah Ahmed, a member of the medical staff at Mayo University Hospital, Castlebar.
An inquest into the death of the young doctor, described as “loved by everybody” and hardworking, was opened and adjourned by the Coroner for Mayo, Patrick O’Connor in Swinford Courthouse .
Garda Christopher Perret said Dr. Ahmed’s car went into the Castlebar River at Hoban’s Carpark just before midnight on January 21.
Garda Perret said CCTV footage, that he later viewed, showed the car reversing at speed through a wire fence leaving a large hole in the fence.
“I saw the back right wheel of an upside down vehicle in the river”, the garda told the inquest.
“The river was fast flowing. The car was almost completely covered by water”.
Garda Perrett said fire services and divers arrived on the scene and the body of a female was taken from the car.
The deceased was pronounced dead at the scene.
Garda Perrett said he took possession of the deceased’s handbag and found it contained the driver’s learner permit (driving licence).
Groceries which had been purchased earlier were found in the deceased’s car, the garda witness said.
Asked by Tom Walsh, solicitor for Dr. Ahmed’s next of kin, how long the vehicle was in the water, Garda Perrett replied: “Probably twenty minutes to half an hour”.
A medical colleague of the deceased, Dr. Fadel Bennani, a consultant pathologist, carried out a post mortem.
He gave the cause of death as asphyxia due to drowning.
On a personal note, Dr. Bennani explained that Dr. Ahmed was “a hardworking junior doctor loved by everybody”
He added: “My condolences to her family and the hospital staff”.
Mr. Walsh said Dr. Ahmed’s family – which includes her mother who lives in Pakistan and a sister in London – appreciated all the efforts made to save her.
Describing the loss of the young doctor as “tragic”, Coroner O’Connor adjourned the inquest hearing to December 18 next for the hearing of further evidence.
The coroner said it was clear the young doctor was a very popular and valued member of the hospital’s medical staff.
Sergeant Regina Carley, on behalf of An Garda Siochana, joined in the expressions of sympathy.