Wednesday 21 February 2018

Families of tragic pair sought after plunge

Friends from Dublin were not distressed before river incident in Derry, say hotel guests, as search continues for missing man


POLICE are trying to locate family members of the tragic young friends who were involved in what is believed to have been a suicide pact.

The youngsters, who are both believed to be from Dublin, plunged 100ft from a bridge into the River Foyle in Derry last Thursday.

Alexandra O'Brien, 21, and Kieran McKeon, 18, did not appear in any way distressed or 'out of sorts' in the hours before they went missing.

Ms O'Brien was described as a "vulnerable" young woman and was believed to have been in St John Of God's Hospital in Stillorgan, Dublin, in the days before she went missing. The PSNI is now trying to establish where the friends met each other.

Guests in the City Hotel in Derry, where the two spent their last few hours together, told the Sunday Independent that they seemed "like any other happy visitors".

Speaking this weekend, a source said: "There was nothing untoward. They seemed perfectly fine and there was nothing to suggest there was anything wrong. They were not distressed in any way."

The two friends did not leave anything in the hotel room to signify their intentions and no suicide note has been found.

The only belongings left behind were a coat and a bag which were found on the Foyle Bridge, where it is believed they stood before plunging 100ft into the water.

Police on both sides of the Border are trying to piece together the last movements of the tragic friends.

One is dead and the other is feared to have died.

The body of Ms O'Brien was recovered from the River Foyle last Thursday and search and rescue teams were still trying to locate the body of Mr McKeon yesterday.

However, Craig Smith, who is heading up the Foyle Search and Rescue team, cautioned that it was important not to rush to any conclusions about what had happened.

He said: "A number of personal items were spotted near the water and this sparked a routine search, which led to us recovering the body of a female from the water. No one saw Kieran enter the water or come out of the water.

"So at this stage it is important to stress that there is nothing to suggest that he is there or that he is not.

"Either way, we do not know."

The Foyle rescue team has been working from 6am each morning to sunset each evening with the help of the Sligo coastguard.

Meanwhile, the PSNI and gardai are participating in searches on land.

Kieran is described as being approximately 5ft 6ins tall, of slim build, with long brown hair covering his face.

It is believed that he was last seen wearing a dark hooded top and grey tracksuit bottoms.

The case is being investigated by gardai at Blackrock station in south Dublin.

Irish Independent

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