Weather disrupts Lough Swilly search for missing teen

  • Published

Bad weather conditions have disrupted a major search for a Derry teenager who has gone missing in Lough Swilly, County Donegal.

Sean McNair, 17, had been enjoying a birthday celebration when he got into difficulties at Rathmullan pier at about 0130 BST on Saturday.

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

Then, he was gone.

Efforts to find him have been continuing over the weekend.

The search was called off on Sunday evening in bad weather.

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 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.

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

Image caption,
Sean McNair's family and friends searched 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."

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