Missing Irishman's friends pray for recovery
Friends and family gathered in Bondi to pray for Donal O'Sullivan, the Irishman who went missing for five days and was found seriously injured in a stairwell on Wednesday night. Nine News.PT0M29S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-37z0c 620 349 May 9, 2014
It was a bizarre and almost fatal end to an early morning drinking session.
Half naked, lying in a pool of blood, severely dehydrated and suffering serious head and spinal injuries, Irishman Donal O'Sullivan was found in the emergency stairwell of an office block on Wednesday night, five days after leaving the Tea Gardens Hotel in Bondi Junction just 150 metres away.
Donal O'Sullivan was found in a serious condition. Photo: Facebook
It is believed Mr O'Sullivan, 33, was trying to make his way to the Easts Leagues Club on Saturday morning following a drinking session with his brother, Johnnie, but somehow ended up on the seventh floor of the neighbouring East Tower commercial building, trying to make his way downstairs via a fire exit.
He fell 15 stairs to the sixth floor and lay barely conscious for five days, just metres from an unlocked door and a set of lifts where people would have heard him, had he called for help.
Cleaners would not usually access the fire stairs until Friday but Phoenix Cleaning manager Saade Saliba did a random quality check of the area on Wednesday and came across a body obstructing the door to the sixth floor landing.
The Tea Gardens Hotel in Bondi, where Donal O'Sullivan was last seen before being found in East Tower. Photo: Flickr
Through a small gap, he saw a man's legs with a pair of jeans down to his thighs and called police.
"We didn't hear anything," East Tower body corporate manager Robert Goodsell said. "If there was any crying out or yelling, people would have heard straight away."
As police scoured CCTV footage on Thursday to work out how the strange sequence of events unfolded, Mr O'Sullivan had two rounds of brain surgery and remained in St Vincent's Hospital's intensive care unit in a critical but stable condition.
Mr O'Sullivan captured on CCTV at the Tea Gardens Hotel Photo: NINE NETWORK AUSTRALIA
Friends and family criticised the police investigation, suggesting officers initially fobbed off the missing persons report as "just another drunk Irishman" and took days to properly investigate.
Johnnie went to the police on Sunday evening and said the disappearance was completely out of character for his brother, a carpenter and pipe layer from County Clare who had been living in Australia for two years.
Police released an appeal for information on Wednesday afternoon and accessed bank accounts and phone records on Tuesday.
Johnnie told The Irish Echo he had called police every day but they were "very slow in responding".
A friend, Gavin Anderson, said: "They didn't take it very seriously, there were remarks about his nationality."
Mr O'Sullivan's sister and brother-in-law flew out from Ireland and hundreds of friends spread flyers and organised nightly searches from the Cock'n'Bull Hotel, just metres from where Mr O'Sullivan was lying close to death.
His friends said they asked Westpac to see whether his accounts had been accessed and called the Irish embassy to ask for further investigation.
On Thursday night, Sydney’s young Irish community gathered at St Patrick’s Bondi parish to pray for Mr O’Sullivan.
Father Gerard Moran said he did not know many of the dozens who attended the mass, but he knew ‘Donie’.
Mr O’Sullivan had approached him a month ago when a friend in Ireland had been killed in a car accident, Father Moran said.
“We continue to pray for Donie and his family,” he said.
A friend, Joe O Donovan, posted online: "The system is a joke and needs review, [he] could have been found sooner".
Acting commander of eastern suburbs police Ana Loughman defended the investigation, saying "immediately on receipt of the report ... an extensive report was furnished on our system and a state-wide message went out".
Hospitals and nearby businesses were contacted, she said.
She said she had "no idea" how or why Mr O Sullivan ended up in the East Tower fire escape, but he had been drinking on Friday night and Saturday morning.
CCTV footage showed him at the Tea Gardens Hotel on Saturday morning until he left his brother at 10.30am.
Mr O'Sullivan commuted from Bondi to Canberra during the week to work for KNF Construction. His friend Mr O Donovan said it was not unusual to go for a beer on Saturday mornings after working 84-hour weeks, with a very long commute.
with Saffron Howden