Tragedy as teenager drowns in Creggan reservoir

The late Connor McCafferty. (1307MM08)
The late Connor McCafferty. (1307MM08)

Creggan is in mourning this morning after a teenager from the estate drowned in the local reservoir.

A large scale search and recovery operation involving the Fire Service, Foyle Search and Rescue and the PSNI recovered the body of the victim, named locally as Conor McCafferty, in the early hours.

The Reservoir, at Creggan Country Park. 3003JM10

The Reservoir, at Creggan Country Park. 3003JM10

It is understood the young man attempted to swim across the 35ft deep reservoir but got into difficulties. A friend who attempted to go to his aid was rescued. Flares lit up the reservoir throughout the night as emergency services tried frantically to locate the victim.

At 6.30am this morning the body of the young man was retrieved from the water basin, as family and friends held an emotional vigil along its the banks.

The death is the second drowning tragedy to strike the tight-knit Creggan community during consecutive summers. It is almost exactly one year since Creggan teenager Sean McNair drowned at Rathmullan in Donegal. It is believed that both young drowning victims had many mutual friends on the estate.

Creggan SDLP Councillor Jim Clifford, who is a personal friend of the McCafferty family, extended his sympathies.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ this morning, Councillor Clifford said: “The whole estate, indeed the condolences of the entire town are with this family on this tragic day.”

The local councillor urged “all young people to stay out of the reservoir.”

Gerry Quinn, manager of the Creggan Reservoir, recently appealed to young people not to enter the reservoir, following the tragic drowning of Strabane teenager Rhys Jack (17) in a disused quarry.

Mr Quinn was so concerned at the potential for a similar tragedy during a mini heatwave last month, he penned a letter to the Derry Journal on the issuse.

There have been drowning tragedies in the Creggan reservoir in the distant past. Repeated steps have been taken to fence it off, along with appeals for young people to stay away from the water outside supervised opening hours.