Saturday 7 December 2019

Weather delays search for teen feared missing in lough

Jackie McNair waits for news of her son Sean at Rathmullen
Pier, Co Donegal
Jackie McNair waits for news of her son Sean at Rathmullen Pier, Co Donegal

Mark Hilliard

The search for a teenager missing off the Donegal coast will not resume today until at least 11am due to adverse weather conditions.

The weather also hampered yesterday's search for the 17-year-old, who went missing in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Sean McNair is believed to have gone swimming in Lough Swilly with his cousin and a friend. They had been celebrating an 18th birthday.

His mother Jackie and other family members have been maintaining a vigil at Rathmullen Pier, where he was last sighted.

But yesterday's search was frustrated by bad weather conditions, with only one small, all-weather boat managing to search the water. Other parties focused on the shore line. The search was called off yesterday evening and will resume this morning.

"The weather conditions are very, very poor," said Dara O'Mally Daly of the Malin Head Coastguard, which was co-ordinating the operation.

"The weather is preventing other smaller boats from going out because the sea conditions are treacherous," he added.

A search helicopter was also unable to assist due to the weather conditions.

SDLP councillor Jim Clifford, who comes from the same housing estate in Creggan, Co Derry, as Sean and who knows the family, said the incident was a blow to the local community.

"He was a very quiet, respectable young lad," he said.

"It's a tragedy and my heart goes out to the family."

Local priest Fr Martin Collum said the missing teen's mother was devastated. He has been comforting her during the search. He said the whole community was "stunned".

Irish Independent

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