Hundreds of volunteers today joined the family of 23-year-old Jack Glenn as the search continued along the River Foyle to recover his remains.
Jack is believed to have entered the river on Thursday morning and emergency services have been conducting land and water-based search operation ever since.
A prayer service for Jack, his family and the search teams is due to be held on Saturday evening at 5pm beside Derry’s Peace Bridge.
The family, including Jack’s parents Hester and Colin and his sister Katie, have issued appeals on social media for volunteers to help them find Jack, with the hashtag #getjackback being spread across Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.
Speaking from the search operation on Saturday, Colin Glenn’s brother-in-law to be Peter Tait said the family have been left heartbroken following Jack’s death, but are now focusing their energies on bringing him home.
“It’s a really, really difficult time and the longer time marches on the harder it gets,” he said. “It is just that closure, we want to get him out of the water and get him home so we can give him a proper burial.
“Social media has been helpful and we really want to get the hashtag #getjackback going as much as possible and we are asking everybody to send it out on Twitter and Facebook and try to get a movement behind us.”
Peter praised all those who have been helping with the search over the past few days and urged anyone else with the free time to help out over the coming days if they can.
He said: “We have had an amazing response today again, it’s absolutely fabulous. There’s hundreds of people here already. It’s a real compliment to the city.
“Foyle Search and Rescue are out and there are a lot of other boats out, there’s a fellow who has offered to come and fly planes, NI Drones are coming, we have had kayakers out looking and all the volunteers here as well.
“We have had people with businesses bringing food and there’s a real sense of community.
“It’s times like this when you are proud to say you are from the city, when you see the outpouring of help and support.”
Peter has urged anyone who can to join the search, which is due to resume at 9am on Sunday and volunteers are urged to come along to the meeting point at the Waterside end of the Peace Bridge any hour on the hour during the day.
Meanwhile staff at Foyle College, where talented young cricketer Jack was a former pupil, have said they are “deeply saddened” by his passing.
On their Facebook page, they wrote: “Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time. He was, and will always be, a champion.”
Mayor of Derry City & Strabane District Council Alderman Hilary McClintock has also appealed for people to help in the search for Jack’s remains.
Mayor McClintock said: “Many of you will be aware of the untimely passing of young Jack Glenn.
“I know the Glenn family personally and I would like to appeal for as many people as possible to help, if they can, with the search of the Foyle river banks during the hours of daylight until around 5pm.
“A meeting point has been set up at the Peace Bridge entrance of Ebrington Square where groups will congregate every hour and separate into smaller groups to search either side of the banks while Foyle Search and Rescue continue to search the river.
“The search will continue over the coming days if necessary.”
She added: “I would like to express my sincerest condolences to the Glenn family who are at the forefront of my thoughts and prayers.”
Meanwhile Derry charity Foyle Search and Rescue, who are at the helm of the search operation along the river, have issued safety advice to those taking part in the land search.
In a statement, they said: “Foyle Search and Rescue are aware of the tremendous help and support that is being shown in the numbers of persons responding to the family’s request for assistance in the ongoing searches.
“Your own personal safety is of the highest importance. Please adhere to the following safety Guidelines when searching:
1. Always stay in a group.
2. Carry a mobile phone.
3. Be careful along the rivers edge & DO NOT enter the Glar/muck. You may become stuck & need rescued.
5. DO NOT cross over any railings riverside under any circumstances.
6. DO NOT cross over onto or walk along Rail Tracks.
7. In the event of finding any items of clothing etc: DO NOT TOUCH or remove. Please contact the PSNI on 101 who will in turn alert Foyle Search & Rescue.”