There has been a groundswell of support for the various expert / volunteer agencies and teams currently involved in searches along the river Foyle.
In a post on Facebook, Foyle Search and Rescue stated that “the tremendous support from the community in the search” has been “amazing” but said, “the increase in footfall makes it difficult for seeing those that are in distress”.
“Please, if anyone is searching wear hi viz jacket, walk in pairs.”
People have also been urged not to stop in areas where they may be taken for someone in distress to prevent expert search teams being diverted.
Foyle Search and Rescue has also this week shared their key Safety Advice for those taking part in search operations:
“Your own personal safety is of the highest importance. Please adhere to the following safety Guidelines when searching:
•Always stay in a group & let someone know the area you are searching and notify them when you have completed your search.
•Persons searching should wear appropriate clothing for the weather conditions.
•It is recommend that persons searching near the water’s edge wear a Life Jacket & that all other searchers wear high-vis clothing to enable boat crew to observe them on river banks.
•If you have access to a pole or walking stick please use it to test the ground in front of you.
•Always carry a mobile phone.
•Be careful along the river’s edge.
•If you approach rocks or large tress, try to walk around, not over, unless this means going to close to the edge.
•DO NOT enter the Glar/mud. You may become stuck & need rescued.
•DO NOT wade or enter the water.
•DO NOT cross over any railings under any circumstances.
•DO NOT cross over onto or walk along Rail Tracks
•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 02871 313800.
•Check the tidal tables and weather forecast prior to commencing the search. If you need any advice on tides please contact Foyle Search.
•People who are searching are reminded that the river banks are extremely hazardous after dark.”
**Anyone in distress or despair can contact Lifeline on 08088088000, Samaritans on 116123 or the Derry-based Community Crisis Intervention Service on 02871262300.