Joint funeral for victims of Enagh Lough tragedy in Derry

Derry teenagers Reuven Simon and Joseph Sebastian will be laid to rest today, following a joint funeral Mass in St. Mary’s Church, Ardmore.
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The heartbreaking deaths of the two 16-year-olds in a tragedy at Enagh Lough on Monday evening has united the city and the North West in grief.

Numerous tributes have been paid to the boys with the ‘beaming smiles,’ who recently completed their GCSEs at St. Columb’s College.

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There were emotional scenes as scores of people gathered on Wednesday at St. Columb’s Parish Hall, where both teenagers were waked.

Reuven Simon and Joseph Sebastian.Reuven Simon and Joseph Sebastian.
Reuven Simon and Joseph Sebastian.

The funeral of Reuven Simon, the beloved son of Joshy Simon and Saly Kuruvilla and loving brother of Evin Joe Simon, will leave his home at Shepherd’s Glen this morning at 10.10am for 11am Requiem Mass in St Mary’s Church.

The funeral of Joseph Sebastian, the beloved son of Sebastian Jose and Viji Sebastian and loving brother of Johanna and Chris, will leave his home in Blackthorn Manor at the same time, 10.10am, for the joint funeral Mass.

The teenagers were part of the Syro-Malabar community and their chaplain, Father Joseph Karukayil Varghese told how he watched the boys grow from childhood, into fine young men with many aspirations.

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He said: “I wish to extend my deepest condolences to the devastated families of Joseph Sebastian and Reuvan Joshy on their tragic and accidental deaths on Monday evening. I had the privilege of knowing the boys since I came to Derry in 2010.I watched them grow from childhood to fine, mature young men full of ambition and aspiration to succeed in life. Knowing them, much thought would have been put into picking subjects for A levels to choose their path in life.

“Sebastian and Reuvan always displayed impeccable character and righteousness no matter what was asked of them.

“I never met the boys without being greeted with their beaming smiles. Let me take this opportunity to reassure their families,friends,and indeed their community that they will be in my thoughts and prayers in the very difficult days and weeks that lie ahead. May Joseph and Reuvan be cradled gently in the arms of Jesus and His Blessed Mother Mary. R.I.P.” An Taoiseach Micheál Martin also expressed his sympathies to the boys’ families this week and stated how everyone’s ‘hearts go out to them in terms of the unimaginable grief they are suffering.’ Speaking to reporters in Monaghan, he added: “We can all imagine young people going out to enjoy a beautiful summer’s afternoon. And for it to end in such tragedy, people availing of and using a water amenity, which we’ve all done in our different times.”

Good Shepherd Primary School also joined in the tributes and said it was with ‘deep sadness and sympathy’ that they shared with the school community the ‘heartbreaking loss’ of the teenagers. They added that their ‘thoughts and prayers’ are with both boys’ families, community and friends at this time.

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The boys died following an incident in Enagh Lough on Monday evening, following which, police confirmed: “Police received a report shortly after 6.25pm, Monday, August 29, of a number of people in difficulty in the water.

“Officers attended along with colleagues from other emergency services. One male was taken from the water and transferred to hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. A second male was located and recovered from the water after extensive searches by Foyle Search and Rescue and police divers.

“He was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

“One other male was taken to hospital for treatment of non life-threatening injuries and three others were shocked, but not physically injured.”