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Man arrested after London Irish woman Elaine O’Donovan drowns in Lanzarote

Irish woman Elaine O’Donovan drowned in Lanzarote (Picture: iStock/WLRfm)

A MAN has been arrested following the death of London-based Irish woman Elaine O’Donovan in Lanzarote. 

Ms O’Donovan would have turned 42 on May 18 but tragically died in the Canary Islands on Sunday, May 14.

She had been holidaying on the Canary Island with her parents when she drowned in the sea.

The Guardia Civil in Lanzarote arrested a 29-year-old man yesterday, May 17, who is accused of not helping Ms O’Donovan or requesting help from anyone else.

The 29-year-old, who is not a Spanish national, is known to police. The investigation will now be passed to the local court in Arrecife.

Around 3am in the early hours of Sunday morning, May 14, several witnesses on the beach at Playa Grande said they saw Ms O’Donovan and a man on the beach.

Ms O’Donovan entered the water alone while he stood on the shore.

Witnesses said that just moments later Ms O’Donovan appeared to be floating face down on the shore and the man, realising this, left the scene without helping her or asking others for help.

Ms O’Donovan was then attended to by people nearby who called emergency services. Sadly, however, she died.

Police also said they have ruled out a violent death as she was still in possession of a ‘high end’ watch on her wrist and had money in her purse.

Originally from Waterford City, Ms O’Donovan had moved to London in recent years where she worked as an environmental engineer.

In a statement to The Irish Post, Ms O’Donovan’s family said: “Elaine was deeply loved by her family and many friends all over the world.

“She loved her work as an environmental engineer, which took her to the most dangerous parts of the world where she worked to improve the lives of those who so badly needed her help.

“Elaine touched the lives of everyone who knew her. She will be very sadly missed.”

Ms O’Donovan had worked with Butyl Products Ltd in business development, heading up their Aid infrastructure division.

She had also been a keynote speaker at several major aid and humanitarian summits in recent years.

Ms O’Donovan was an engineering graduate from Cork Institute of Technology with nearly 20 years experience in water and sanitation.

Her career profile for Butyl said “her knowledge and experience is invaluable and is frequently called upon when working in collaboration with other organisations around the world.”

For her bucket list, she had written that she “would like to own a small cottage retreat where she could spend some time writing about all of the varied experiences she’s had in her life so far.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland have said they are providing consular assistance.

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Erica Doyle Higgins
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Erica Doyle Higgins is a Digital Reporter with The Irish Post. You can follow her on Twitter @EDoyleHiggins Do you have a story to share? Email erica@irishpost.co.uk

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