Irish j1 student passes away after swimming incident in USA

The Cork Institute of Technology student passed away on Sunday after going swimming in Ocean City.

An Irish J1 student who suffered a cardiac arrest on a beach in Ocean City, Maryland died in hospital at the weekend.

Philip Leahy (22) a student from Cork Institute of Technology from Ballyhooly, Co Cork spent the past few days on life support at Atlantic General Hospital where he tragically passed away on Sunday night with his mother, Ann, and his brothers, William and Patrick, by his bedside.

While on a working visa in the US, the 22 year old went for an early morning swim with three friends.

The conditions became rough and the group quickly ran into difficulty after entering the sea. The alarm was raised and Philip was brought ashore by rescue swimmers from Ocean City Fire Department (OCFD) who gave him CPR at the scene.

John O’Keeffe, spokesman for Ballyhooly GAA Club said the whole village was devastated at the news.

“Philip was a very popular, outgoing young man who was equally good footballer and hurler,” said Mr O’Keeffe. “He won his first medals at U-12 level and was playing with us ever since, usually in defence. We were hoping he’d be back for our hurling campaign.

“It’s very tragic. Everybody is very upset. The Leahy family have connections all over the place.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs is liaising with the family in order to provide consular assistance. However, a GoFundMe page has since been set up by Philip’s friend’s to help pay for the young man's medical bills and over €90,000 was raised.

Former Fine Gael TD Tom Barry, who lives in ear Ballyhooly, said he was shocked and saddened by the news of Philip's death.

Mr Barry said, “He was a very nice lad and it’s very tough for such a small community. This is another tragedy in the family. His father [Philly] only died three years ago while he was canvassing in the local elections for Fine Gael”.

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