Body of Belfast doctor killed in NZ returns home

 

The body of a Northern Ireland doctor killed in a climbing accident in New
Zealand is expected to arrive in Belfast later today.

Mr Donal Deery (29) died two weeks ago as he tried to save his girlfriend Ms Helen McClements who slipped as they climbed the South Island's Southern Alps.

His body was recovered by a search-and-rescue team from the nearby town of Wanaka last week. Bad weather had prevented them from retrieving it earlier.

His mother Monica said today: "We will be so glad to have him home. It`s been a very long wait."

Dr Deery, from the Ligoniel area of North Belfast, had been planning to return to Northern Ireland to attend his sister Deirde's wedding. He was then going to return to New Zealand to work for a year.

The family have decided that the wedding should go ahead.

Mrs Deery is hopeful that Ms McClements, who sustained serious back injuries in the fall, will be home in time to attend Donal's funeral.

The family had feared the funeral planned for Saturday might have had to be called off because of a delay in returning the body.

They had been told it would not reach Northern Ireland until Friday, but Mrs Deery said the matter was sorted out by the Irish Consulate in New Zealand.