A desperate mum climbed from the wreckage of a car crash that killed her husband and two young children.

Geraldine Mullan, 45, managed to survive the tragic crash which killed her husband John Mullan, 49, and their children Tomas, 14, and Amelia, six.

They were driving home from a family day out in Co Donegal on Thursday night when the car careered down an embankment and crashed into Lough Foyle estuary in Ireland.

Mrs Mullan, a nurse, was said to be left “completely shocked” and “totally distressed” after the heartbreaking tragedy.

Mr Mullan, who worked at a garden centre, died after he became trapped in the black Mitsubishi ASX SUV.

Their two children, who managed to escape the wreckage, also died after the crash.

Mrs Mullan was able to climb onto the overturned car from where she was rescued and rushed to Letterkenny University Hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

Supt Eugene McGovern of Buncrana Garda station said the loss has come as a blow to the area.

He said: “It is just difficult to find words for the families involved.

“This is an awful tragedy for the immediate families but also for the wider community as the family are well known and respected in the locality.”

Police said conditions were poor, wet and windy when the crash occurred at roughly 10.20pm on Thursday.

The stretch of road near Quigley’s Point where the incident happened had recently been resurfaced and investigators will examine whether this contributed to the tragedy.

Investigators will examine the stretch of road near Quigley’s Point which had been recently resurfaced to see if this contributed to the tragedy.

Supt McGovern said:“We knew fairly early on that we were dealing with a family situation here and it was very difficult.

“We still don’t know what caused Mr Mullan to veer off the road but we will carry out a full investigation into all the circumstances.

“It was a wet and windy night and the stretch of road where the crash happened had recently been resurfaced so that will form part of our investigation.”

Tomas and Amelia attended schools in the Irish coastal town of Moville where Tomas was entering his third year at Moville Community College.

Principal Anthony Doogan said: “Tomas was an extremely popular student. One of my abiding memories of Tomas will be of a young man walking to his music lessons with his accordion slung over his back.

“He will be deeply missed by his family and close friends.”

A family friend said the Mullans “kept themselves to themselves” but went out of their way to help anyone in need.

Irish Sinn Féin politicians Padraig Mac Lochlainn and Pearse Doherty expressed their sympathies following the tragedy.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said: “This is such a heartbreaking tragedy and myself and Deputy Pearse Doherty want to convey our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the man and two children who have died.

“The people of Inishowen and Donegal have suffered more than most from road tragedies over the years and we have no doubt that our people will do all that we can to support the devastated family at this terrible time and in the time ahead.”

Local county councillor Martin Farren said he grew up with Mr Mullan and knew the family well.

He added: “It’s impossible to put into words how people are feeling in the community right now, it’s just devastating. You simply couldn’t have met nicer people and anybody will say the same.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time, such a very, very sad time.”

A local priest who attended the scene of the horrific road tragedy on Thursday night told yesterday of the devastation caused.

Fr John Farren, parish priest of Ishkaheen in Muff, said he comforted Mrs Mullan who was “hysterical from grief.”

He said: “She was completely shocked, totally distressed and I was with her when we prayed with the three deceased.”

Relatives of the Mullan family have been informed.