Day six of search for missing men to resume on river and land

Mystery continues to shroud circumstances which led two young people to travel to Derry

Search resumes for Kieron McKeon (18) this morning.

Search resumes for Kieron McKeon (18) this morning.


Mystery continues to shroud the circumstances which led to two young people to travel from Dublin to Derry last week, where one of them, 21-year-old Alexandra O'Brien, died after entering the waters of the River Foyle.

Alexandra's handbag and coat, along with two bottles of water, were found at the spot on the Foyle Bridge where a young woman was seen falling just after 7am last Thursday. Her body was recovered at low tide that afternoon near the river station of Foyle Search and Rescue.

Since then, the search has continued for Kieran McKeon (18), who left St John of God's hospital in Stillorgan with Ms O’Brien, bound for Derry. The pair are captured on CCTV footage from the hotel they were staying at in the city.

Alexandra and Kieran were both day patients at St John of God’s, which specialises in treating people with mental health problems. In their original missing-person description of Ms O’Brien, the PSNI described her as “vulnerable”.

Foyle Search and Rescue said the search was to resume again at 8.30am this morning.

Rescuers in boats and jetskis spent over four hours searching the river at low tide yesterday, while helicopters are also being deployed to scour inaccessible parts of the riverbank. While there was no sighting of a man entering the river last Thursday, the search for now remains focused on the Foyle. It may be extended inland next week using a drone capable of carrying a CCTV camera and flying as low as 20 feet.

Search personnel say they have no evidence that Kieran may have fallen into the river, but are working on this presumption after the recovery of Alexandra’s body nearby. “Our approach will not change unless we receive new information regarding the whereabouts of Kieran from the PSNI,” a spokesman said.

Since Monday, Foyle Search and Rescue has been searching for two males, following a report that another person was seen plunging into the river. Rescuers were on the water at the time a young man in a dark hoodie and carrying a rucksack was seen entering the Foyle, but eye-witnesses said he sank very quickly.

Flowers now mark the spot on the Foyle Bridge where Alexandra was last seen, along with a two page handwritten letter taped to a lamp standard from a woman who describes herself as the dead woman's “big sis Cella”.