A man has been arrested on suspicion of failing to help an Irish woman who drowned in the sea off the Canary Islands. Elaine O’Donovan, 41, is understood to have been on holiday in Lanzarote with her parents when she died in the early hours of Sunday morning. She was spotted floating face down in the ocean off Playa Grande in Puerto de Carmen in the southeast of the island at 4 a.
m. Police said O’Donovan appeared to have gone for a swim after a night out after being spotted arriving at the popular beach with a man. A Civil Guard spokesman said: “Around 3 a.
m. on Sunday several witnesses saw a couple on the beach and spotted the woman going into the water alone and the man staying on the shore. “Moments later the woman appeared floating near the shore and the man, when he saw this, left the scene without trying to help her or raise the alarm.
” A guard spokesman told the Irish Sun that a group of people saw O’Donovan arrive at the beach with a man. The spokesman said: “They watched from a distance as the woman entered the water by herself to swim. ” “The man was shouting something to her from the sand, but they couldn’t hear what it was.
” “He said something to her, [but] the woman paid him no attention and the man left. ” “The next thing the other group saw was the woman floating face down in the water. ” “Emergency services arrived and tried to resuscitate her, but they couldn’t.
” “Autopsy showed no sign of any violence, no marks, bruises or any other type of marks. Water was found in the lungs. ” He said police were treating the death as an accident, but couldn’t say whether traces of alcohol were found in O’Donovan’s body.
It’s understood O’Donovan was on holiday in the Canaries, an island chain off the west coast of Africa, with her parents Tommy and Pat at the time of her death. Originally from Waterford, O’Donovan had been living in London for the past nine years, working for Butyl Products Ltd which supplies sanitation equipment to aid agencies. Friends also paid tribute to O’Donovan on her Facebook page as the news emerged.
She was described as “one of a kind” and “a gorgeous girl with great humor. ” One friend wrote: “Beautiful lady inside and out — always smiling. ” Her funeral is expected to be held in her native Waterford over the coming days.
People described seeing an object in the water and when they realized it was a woman, pulled her out and called the emergency services. Before an ambulance arrived, doctors at the emergency help centre gave advice over the phone to the rescuers on the spot to try and revive her. O’Donovan reportedly had a pulse when paramedics arrived but died shortly after.
The arrested man, believed to be Moroccan, could face prosecution for “being the presumed author of an alleged crime of omission of the duty. ” He was arrested in Arrecife on Wednesday and is said to be known to the police. The pair is believed to have just met that night.
Police initially had no idea of her identity and it took more than 24 hours to establish who she was. Officers searched the area for clues and found her purse which revealed who she was. Money was found in her purse and she was wearing an expensive watch so robbery has been ruled out.
It is also understood that she had no signs of violence on her body. The man helping police has only been identified by his initials of AS. Investigations are continuing.