Limerick couple mourns loss of daughter in west Cork crash

A Limerick couple are mourning the terrible loss of their eight-year-old daughter, who was killed in a horrific two-car collision in Co Cork yesterday.

The little girl, named locally as Zoe Scannell from Bogmount, Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick, died instantly when the car she was traveling in was in a collision with a car driven by a 17-year-old male.

The girl's mother, Alisha Scannell, a professional hair stylist aged in her 30s, is fighting for her life in Cork University Hospital. Her partner who was driving is said to be in a stable condition.

According to a Garda source, Ms Scannell, and her daughter were holidaying with friends in West Cork when their car -- which contained four other passengers -- was in a collision with the teenager's car on the N71 at a notorious accident blackspot at Owenahincha Cross near Rosscarbery, at about 3pm yesterday.

Two adults -- one of whom is understood to be Ms Scannell's partner -- and two other children are said to have sustained minor injuries in the crash.

The 17-year-old, who was driving the second car (a small silver Audi), sustained minor injuries and was being treated for shock. It is believed he was alone in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

The Audi is seen at the bottom of the picture, with the Primera in which the Scannells were travelling still on the road. Pictures: Provision

"We're all shocked. Everyone in Abbeyfeale is just stunned really. No one can really believe it. It was Alisha Scannell and her daughter Zoe," said a local publican.

"They're not from the town as such, they live a bit outside it, at Bogmount. I don't know them personally," the source added.

The rural Abbeyfeale community has been left heartbroken. A local Garda broke down when asked about the tragedy which had claimed the life of little Zoe and which left her mother in a serious condition in hospital.

Emergency services in West Cork were alerted shortly after the fatal crash. However, the Limerick girl was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her body was removed to Cork University Hospital for a post mortem examination.

Alisha Scannell, who works for Trendy Locks Hair Salon, Abbeyfeale, remains in a critical condition at CUH.

She previously worked at the award-winning Bellisimo hair and beauty salon in Limerick City.

Zoe, who only recently celebrated her First Holy Communion, looked angelic in her white frock, tiara headpiece, and matching coloured gloves, as she posed for photos on her big day with her family.

Alisha proudly posted the treasured photographic memories on Facebook only two days before her little girl's sudden death.

Only last week she left a post on her Facebook page to say: "Corpus Christi mass last night, d last time my baby wears her communion dress."

Prayers were being said last night in West Limerick for Alisha's speedy recovery.

The fatal collision reportedly happened on a steep section of roadway near the turnoff for Owenahincha Beach.

An air ambulance helicopter was dispatched to the scene to airlift Ms Scannell to Cork University Hospital.

The scene was also attended by members of the coast guard, gardaí, ambulance and fire crews.

Specialised winching and lifting equipment had to be used to remove the occupants from their vehicles and clear the road.

One of the two cars involved - the Audi - went off the road and ended at the bottom of a deep ravine. The car in which Ms Scannell and Zoe were travelling - a cream Nissan Primera - remained on the road.

Gardaí closed off the road for several hours and a Garda specialist forensic collision investigator was examining the area where both cars collided.

A major Garda investigation is underway into the cause of the collision.

Diversions were in place on the road for most of yesterday and last night on the stretch of roadway between Clonakilty and Skibbereen.

Anyone with information about the fatal crash is asked to contact Clonakilty garda station on 023 - 8821570 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.

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