Tragedy

Life Boat team in the water as they search around the pier for the missing youth. 1807bd045

Life Boat team in the water as they search around the pier for the missing youth. 1807bd045

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The mother of a missing Creggan teenager who disappeared into the sea off Rathmullan Pier fears that her son may not be found alive.

Seventeen years-old Sean McNair, was reported missing at 1.30a.m. on Saturday morning.

The Journal understands that Mr. McNair was in Rathmullan to celebrate a friend’s birthday party. It is believed that the teenager, from Rinmore Drive in Creggan, went into the water with friends whilst on the pier.

Ms. McNair and other family members and friends kept a vigil at Rathmullan Pier while the search operation continued.

“It’s not looking hopeful,” said Ms McNair. “The divers can’t go back into the water until the tide changes so I’ll just have to wait and see.”

Sinn Fein councillor for the Creggan area, Kevin Campbell, described the incident as a tragedy and added that his thoughts and prayers are with Mr. McNair’s family.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time - it’s a real tragedy,” said Colr. Campbell.

“They are very highly thought of in Creggan and I am sure the community will get behind the family no matter what happens.”

Members of the Sheephaven Sub Aqua Club and Garda divers are assisting in the search.

The Malin Head Coastguard launched their rescue helicopter and their boat crews searched near Ramelton, Buncrana and the shores of Inch Island. It is believed that Mr. McNair and three friends jumped into the water shortly before 1.30a.m. yesterday morning.

According to a spokesman from the Malin Head Coast Radio Station that helped co-ordinate the rescue attempts, one of Mr McNair’s friends tried to hold on to him as long as he could “but he had to let him go in the end because he was getting scraped by the barnacles on the pier.” He added: “There was quite a strong current there as well as it being very deep.”

Joe Joyce from Lough Swilly RNLI said an extensive search was carried out overnight between Rathmullan, Ramelton and Letterkenny. “I believe it was just a birthday celebration that went wrong,” he said. The search was due to continue today.

It is believed that the alarm was raised at around 1.31a.m. and the Lough Swilly Inshore Lifeboat was launched at 1:40a.m. to assist in the search of the waters off Rathmullan Pier for Mr. McNair who had disappeared shortly after entering the water in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The Inshore Lifeboat co-ordinated a search with a local vessel and both boats were later joined by the Lough Swilly All Weather Lifeboat. The Coastguard helicopter, which is based in Sligo, and Mulroy Coastguard were also tasked to the incident. Using white illuminating para-flares the boats searched the area to the north and south of the pier but to no avail.

Both lifeboats were stood down at 8a.m. yesterday morning and returned to Buncrana, but launched again at 11a.m. to resume the search with the assistance of a team of volunteer divers from the local Sub-Aqua Clubs.

At the time of going to press the search was continuing while friends and family of Mr. McNair maintained a vigil at Rathmullan Pier.