The family of a missing Derry man have urged people to pray for him as the search was broadened out across Inishowen yesterday.
John Concannon’s son Edward last night spoke of how the family were determined to remain positive as they took part in the ongoing cross-border rescue effort.
John’s brother Michael Concannon meanwhile said there were people praying for him in churches across Ireland and as far away as Latvia.
John (71) has dementia and is deaf. His last known movements were captured on CCTV and place him walking along the rural Lenamore Road area of Derry in the direction of the border at 5.40pm on Tuesday, November 10.
It is thought a simple error led to him getting onboard the wrong bus from his normal bus home at Foyle Street bus depot ten days, and that he became confused due to his condition.
Yesterday saw the gardai and Search and Rescue experts joined by relatives and volunteers as well as the Search and Rescue helicopter squad as they focused on the area surrounding the main road between the Rock Bar and Muff village.
We’re staying hopeful. We would ask people to check wee run-down houses as people sometimes might take refuge in them. We have checked some of them but there are plenty more.John Concannon’s son Edward.
The PSNI meanwhile were continuing their intensive searches in the Lenamore border area, having deployed specialist diving teams and specialist search dogs there over the past few days.
Edward (21) said the dogs had been given his father’s scent from his pillow and blanket.
“We’re staying hopeful,” he said. “We would ask people to check wee run-down houses as people sometimes might take refuge in them. We have checked some of them but there are plenty more.”
Speaking of the impact his father’s disappearance has had, the young man added: “This has been the worst experience of my life. I wouldn’t wish my worst enemy to go through it.”
The family of missing Derry man John Concannon were last continuing to distribute flyers across the north west as searches to try to locate the 71-year-old intensified.
This week has seen the search parties focus their attention on the border area straddling Lenamore in Derry and Muff in Donegal.
John’s brothers have been taking part in the searches and distributing fliers in shops, supermarkets and other businesses across Derry, Letterkenny, Buncrana, Carndonagh, Burt, Bridgend, Muff and Moville over recent days.
Ulsterbus in Derry has also been carrying posters appealing for anyone who may have seen John since he alighted from the Fernabbey bus and disappeared 10 days ago to come forward.
John Concannon had a daily routine of travelling up the town and visiting his former place of work at the Methodist Mission in Crawford Square, before returning to his Altcar Park home via the Slievemore bus for his tea at 5pm. However due to some confusion at Foyle Street depot he seems to have gotten on the Fernabbey bus instead of the Slievemore one and became confused. He has not been seen since getting off the bus and walking along Lenamore Road.
Speaking during the search yesterday, Michael Concannon said: “At the moment there is no change. Nobody seems to have sighted him anywhere, which is frustrating.
“It has been very stressful, you are not getting sleeping right and your mind is working overtime thinking: What could we do? What else could we do? What did we miss?
“We have gone round all the business and everything we can think of we have done.”
Asking local people to keep John in their prayers, he said: “We just have to keep optimistic , trust in God that there will be an answer. I believe in the power of prayer and there are people throughout the country praying. It is a comfort to me and the praying has been taking place as far as Latvia.”
Michael said his daughter, who lives in the Muff area, and other relatives have been scouring the area around the Rock Bar and up into Iskaheen over recent days. “Anybody we see we are stopping and talking to, and we are urging anyone with sheds to check them out,” he added.
On Tuesday expert PSNI diving support teams searching along the swollen streams close to Fanny Wylie’s Bridge at the Lenamore Road/ Beragh Hill Road.