Tuesday 12 December 2017

Search for teen missing after birthday party swim off coast

Stephen Maguire

An 18th birthday party turned to tragedy yesterday after a teenager went missing off the coast of Donegal.

A number of teenagers went swimming off Rathmullan pier on Lough Swilly in the early hours of yesterday morning. However, tragedy struck when one of the teenagers failed to surface.

The youth, named locally as Sean McNair, from Derry, has not been seen since just after midnight yesterday.

His distraught mother Jackie yesterday kept a vigil with friends and family at the spot where her only child was last seen. Sobbing, she said: "Please pray that they find my child."

Ms McNair was being comforted by local priest Fr Martin Collum. "It's a terrible tragedy. Hopefully we can find his body and give everyone some kind of comfort," he said.

It is not believed that Sean was a good swimmer.

The emergency call was made at around 12.30am to Malin Head Coast Guard. They alerted the search-and-rescue helicopter in Sligo as well as Lough Swilly Lifeboat and the Mulroy Coast and Rescue.

A local woman at the scene said she has never seen so much heartache.

"I can't describe the distress in those young people's faces. It was just awful."

Sunday Independent

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