A FUNERAL mass has been held on Saturday morning for a brave dad who drowned while saving his son at a Spanish sea resort.
Hundreds of mourners attended the service at St Bernadette’s chapel in south Belfast for the 9am requiem mass for Owen O’Toole who tragically died on holiday last Saturday.
Mr O’Toole and another man pulled his son Niall to safety after he got into trouble with strong currents while swimming in La Coruna.
However, tragedy struck when Mr O’Toole, from Beechgrove Park in south Belfast, found he was unable to make it back to shore as the waves were too strong for the 57-year-old.
The incident happened around 5.30pm last Saturday while the O’Toole’s were holidaying in the north-western Spanish region of Galicia.
His wife Margaret is believed to have been on the beach at the time when the terrible drama unfolded.
There were no lifeguards on the beach at the time and they are due to start their duties in the area early next week.
Paramedics later arrived at the scene but valiant attempts to resuscitate Mr O’Toole failed to save his life.
She and her rescued son Niall have since returned to the family home.
It could be some days before the remains of Mr O’Toole is repatriated back to Northern Ireland..
In a statement, O’Toole family said: “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved husband and father Owen who tragically died while on holiday in Spain.
The O’Toole family were holidaying in the historic area of Galicia in north-western SpainThe O’Toole family were holidaying in the historic area of Galicia in north-western Spain
“Owen was a loving, giving and courageous man who will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
“To us his loss in incalculable,” added the family statement.
Mr O’Toole is also survived by his daughter Clare.
Her market research employers placed a family insertion offering their condolences to the O’Toole family.
It read: “The management and staff of Perceptive Insight wish to tender their deepest sympathy to the O’Toole family circle on the death of Owen, father of their esteemed colleague Clare.
“May he rest in peace.”