Davitt Walsh will never forget the screams.
He was treading water outside the sinking vehicle, his mind full of the terrified yells of the people trapped inside. In one arm, he clutched the tiny infant who had just been passed through a broken window by her father. With the other, he reached for the hand of the girl’s 12-year-old brother.
The sea was seeping in fast. The car was slipping away.
"The father just looked at me and said, ‘Save my baby,’" Walsh recalled in an interview with Raidio Teilifs Eireann, the public broadcaster in Ireland. ". . . I couldn’t do anything else. The car went down. The whole lot went down. It was so fast."
In that instant Sunday, the baby girl’s father, brothers, aunt and grandmother were lost to the murky depths of Ireland’s "Lake of Shadows," Lough Swilly in County Donegal. And Walsh did the only thing left to do: He held the infant, four-month-old Rioghnach-Ann, above his head and swam her back to shore.
The baby’s five family members – her father Sean McGrotty, 49, brothers Mark, 12, and Evan, 8, aunt Jodie Lee Daniels, 14, and grandmother Ruth Daniels, 59 – will be buried near their home in Derry, Northern Ireland, on Thursday.