Sea search for missing teen resumes

 

The search for a teenager who went missing while swimming with friends off the Co Donegal coast resumed today.

A day-long operation to find the 17-year-old boy in Lough Swilly was called off last night when darkness fell.

The teenager, from Co Derry, was last seen near Rathmullan Pier at around 1.30am yesterday morning.

He had gone swimming with three friends after an 18th birthday party in the area. Family members maintained a solemn vigil on the shoreline throughout the day as the search took place.

Dara O’Mally Daly from the Coastguard in Co Donegal said the weather had turned for the worse “There are north west gales blowing in and conditions are quite difficult, the water is pretty choppy and there are showers coming in,” he said.

He said the search for the teenager, named locally as Sean McNair from the Creggan area of Derry, would focus on the shore line.

Rathmullan parish priest Martin Collum said the community had been devastated by the incident. He has been comforting the teenager’s mother Jackie during the search operation.

“She’s just so shocked, just devastated,” he said.

“The whole community is stunned by this and are all thinking about the family. There is dark cloud hanging over this community today.” Foyle Assembly member Mark Durkan said he was praying for the family. “Our thoughts are with them at this very difficult time,” he said.

A helicopter dispatched from Sligo was helped by local fishing crews and lifeboats from the Irish Coastguard station at Mulroy. Divers from the Sheephaven sub-aqua club also assisted.

Joe Joyce from Lough Swilly RNLI said the incident appeared to be an after-party celebration gone wrong.

“There was an 18th birthday party and I think some of them went for a swim afterwards,” he said. “But four went into the water and only three came back out.”