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Thursday 14 December 2017

Body is recovered in search for missing teenager

Allison Bray and Stephen Maguire

DIVERS yesterday recovered a body believed to be that of a teenager who went missing after swimming with friends more than a week ago.

Volunteers from the Dundalk Sub Aqua Search and Recovery Unit found the body of a young male near the Rathmullan pier in Lough Swilly, Co Donegal, at 3.20pm.

The body was found in a channel close to the pier where 17-year-old Sean McNair, from Creggan in Derry, vanished last Sunday.

He and a group of friends had been celebrating a friend's 18th birthday at a local pub when they went for a moonlight swim at around 1:30am.

But only three out of the four friends returned from the water.

Since then a massive search involving more than 150 volunteers as well as several area coastguard search units and life boats have been looking for the missing teenager.

However, the search has been hampered by bad weather, strong winds and poor visibility.

The grim recovery was made as a huge contingent of volunteers -- including about 30 local fishing and pleasure boats -- took part in the renewed search operation yesterday.

Heartbroken

Paddy Agnew, chair of the sub-aqua unit, said a team of 12 divers took part in the search and found the body lying on the seabed.

The body was removed to Letterkenny General Hospital for a post-mortem examination.

The teenager's heartbroken mother Jackie was among the crowd who gathered on the pier when the discovery was made.

"There was a great sense of relief that he was recovered," Mr Agnew told the Irish Independent.

Rathmullan parish priest Father Martin Collum has been comforting the young man's mother since he disappeared. He said she was very thankful his body had been found.

"It is a huge relief for everyone. I spoke to Sean's mother Jackie McNair since he went missing and all she wanted was to bring him home and bury him," he said.

"This is a terrible tragedy, but at least Jackie can now bring her son home and give him a proper burial."

Irish Independent

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