Northern Ireland

Volunteer call to help find missing teen Sean McNair

Rescue teams have called for volunteers to help as the search resumes for a Londonderry teenager who went missing in Lough Swilly at the weekend.

Lifeboat crews joined local search and recovery teams after Sean McNair, 17, fell from a pier at Rathmullan early on Saturday morning.

The teenager had been enjoying a birthday celebration when he got into difficulties at about 0130 BST.

Strong tides meant the search had to be called off on Sunday evening.

Mr McNair had jumped from the pier with a cousin and a friend. Seconds later they heard him call for help.

Divers were supposed to go into the water on Sunday morning to search for him. But they could not proceed because of safety issues.

Strong gales and a swell coming in from the Atlantic Ocean have been causing bad visibility and hampering the search.

Instead coastguard teams assembled at the Buncrana side of the lough at 1230 BST and at Rathmullan pier where Sean disappeared.

In the afternoon, they took advantage of low waters to check the pier, beaches and rocks.

'Numb'

A coastguard helicopter also carried out a search of the whole area early on Sunday afternoon.

Image caption Sean McNair's family and friends spent the weekend searching for him

Parish priest Fr Martin Collum said people in the town were "numb".

"Our thoughts are with this family, with Jackie the mother and Rachel and Taylor the two daughters," he added.

"She (Jackie) is just shocked, she is numb. The people of Rathmullan are with her in prayer. It is a very sad day."

Fr Collum said the support and sympathy offered to the McNair family had been inspiring.

"You could sense the faith of the people carrying Jackie and the family along and there was in the midst of all the pain and sorrow and the grief, there was the palpable presence of 'Yes, God is here too'," he said.

"I know Jackie has been up to the church and she has lit candles. Sometimes in times of tragedy that is all we have, is this faith to rely on."

Irish police, coastguard and lifeboat crews as well as family, friends and local people searched Lough Swilly for most of Saturday.

More on this story