By Elizabeth Doherty
“Heaven has gained another angel,” a school friend of a 14-year-old scout who died four days after she was swept in to the sea, has written in tribute.
Online messages were posted in memory of the scout named online last night as Aoife, who passed away in hospital last night after she fell into the sea during storm Desmond on Sunday.
The young girl, from Dublin, was on a scouting trip to Hook Head in Wexford when the accident took place.
She had been walking on rocks with a boy of 15, when they were both carried by waves in to the waters.
Heartbreaking messages written by young people and those from the scouting community across the world, were circulated online last night as the country and Scouting groups internationally grieved the loss of a young girl.
One of the girl’s friend’s wrote a very emotional message on Twitter reading: “My school will never forget Aoife. She will always be remembered. Heaven has gained another angel.”
Another young girl wrote online: “RIP Aoife, I actually can’t believe you’re gone. It’s gonna be so weird not seeing you in school every day.
“Gone but never forgotten X.”
And another young girl added: “Horrible to hear an innocent young girl in my school has been taken away from us. Life is so cruel. RIP Aoife.”
“I can’t believe that poor girl that died was in my school, really hits home RIP Aoife. Life is so precious,” another young girl wrote.
And another female tweeter added: “RIP Aoife. You will be missed so much. You were taken so young.”
“What a beautiful happy hearted, kind girl Aoife was. Why is life so cruel,” another girl wrote.
Though rescued, the young scout slipped from the hold of a helicopter winchman back in to the sea due to such adverse weather.
She was recovered moments later and brought to Waterford University Hospital.
She was moved to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin, and prayers were said internationally in the hope the venture scout, new to scouting, would recover.
Scouting Ireland posted a tribute to the young girl on Facebook reading: “It is with the deepest sadness that we are sharing the news that a fellow scout, who was involved in a tragic accident near Hook Head last weekend has passed away in hospital.
“In scout meetings up and down the country, let’s think of her, her family and friends, her fellow venture scouts and scouters in the 55th Dublin Scout Group and the emergency services that arrived so speedily and did all they could to rescue her on that tragic day.
The group posted a touching photograph of a scouting flag being hoisted in to the air as a tribute.
The wide-ranging grief from young and old was evident online as the global group, which teaches discipline and instills a sense of adventure, to children, mourned one of its own.
Scouts from across the world, from as far afield as Doha and the U.S, had been posting to the group’s Facebook page in recent days, offering prayer and kind thoughts in hope of the young girl’s recovery.
One poster commented that she was thinking of the girl and “her scouting family,” such is the extent of closeness between scouts as a tradition.
Christy McCann, Scouting Ireland chief scout, had posted on Facebook the day before the young scout’s death, that people pray for Aoife as they “battle with the forces of nature,” as the storm caused havoc across the country.
The teenager had only recently joined the 55th South Circular Road Scout Group before she lost her life.
Scouting Ireland said it was “devastated” by the young girl’s death.
“Everyone in the scouting community in Ireland is devastated by the death of a Venture Scout following a tragic accident at Hook Head last Sunday,” the group said in a statement.
“On behalf of all our members, Scouting Ireland extends our deepest sympathies to her family, who have lost a much loved daughter and sister. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this very sad time.”
“We are providing support to the Group and in particular to the venture scouts and their leaders who were visiting Hook Head last Sunday. As you would expect, they are deeply upset and saddened at their fellow Venture Scout’s passing.”
“In her short time with the group she was an enthusiastic and popular member who participated fully in all activities.”
Earlier this week an air accident investigation was launched in to the events surrounding the tragedy when a helicopter was dispatched to rescue the girl.
The scout fell almost 12 metres back in to the sea as she was being winched in to the helicopter during the storm.
She was taken to hospital in Waterford initially and was later transferred to Crumlin, Dublin, where her family had been holding a vigil by her bedside.
The child’s death is the biggest loss the scouting community has felt in Ireland.
Weather conditions from record-breaking Storm Desmond have been blamed for the strong sea surge that swept the girl, the boy, another teen and a woman in her 20s from the rocks in to the sea after 2pm.
The Waterford-based Irish Coastguard helicopter was dispatched with two local RNLI units to rescue the party and they were reportedly on the scene within 10 minutes.
The woman and one teenager scrambled to safety from the rocks.
The boy had to be rescued along with the girl from the sea. He was hailed a hero for helping to keep the young girl’s head above water as she was reportedly knocked unconscious.
Scouts were expected to pay further tribute to the girl today, as all efforts were being made to comfort loved-ones.