South Scotland

Search suspended after couple's car washes up on Drummore beach

Susan and James Kenneavy
Image caption Susan and James Kenneavy have not been seen at home or been in contact with family

The search has been suspended for a couple whose car was found washed-up on a beach in the south of Scotland amid bad weather.

James and Susan Kenneavy's empty Ford Kuga was found by workmen clearing debris on Drummore beach, near Stranraer, at about 07:30 on Thursday.

The discovery followed heavy rain and flooding on Drummore coastal road on Wednesday.

The search has been halted but should resume on Saturday morning.

Image caption The air, sea and land search operation will resume on Saturday

A police spokesman asked for the public's help to trace the couple and discover the movements of their grey Ford Kuga - registration SJ15UKX.

He added that the couple, thought to be in their 70s, had not been seen at home in Drummore and had not been in contact with family.

Insp Duncan Cameron told the BBC weather conditions in the area had been "extremely challenging", with heavy wind and rain.

"A lot of the roadways around that area had been closed due to concerns about the weather," he said.

'Passage of time'

He said the coastguard, lifeboats and mountain rescue teams had been involved in the search which has now been suspended until Saturday morning.

"At the minute our efforts are very much focused on tracing Mr and Mrs Kenneavy," he said.

"We are concerned for their well-being given the passage of time since their car was discovered.

"However, all our efforts are focused on tracing them - hopefully safe and well.

"We have got as much resource dedicated to that effort as we possibly can."

Drummore villager Edward Beck, who has known Mr Kenneavy for more than 30 years, described his friend as a "diamond".

"No matter what he was going through he would always smile and laugh - very witty and full of humour," he said.

"A really nice little fellow. I love him to bits, he is just great."

He said he believed the couple were originally from the East Kilbride area but had lived in Dumfries and Galloway for decades.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption A search into the night on Thursday failed to find any trace of Mr and Mrs Kenneavy

Mr Beck told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme that local people had been aware of weather warnings from the Met Office and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

He also described how conditions along the coastal route could be extremely treacherous and said large storm waves could affect the main road into the village.

He added: "You can be driving through three, four feet of water and a lot of cars can suck water into the engine and you can get stranded. That part [of the road] actually looks like it's in the sea if you hit it at the right time."

A spokesman for HM Coastguard said they had been contacted by police just after 15:30 on Thursday requesting assistance in the search for the couple.

He added: "The HM Coastguard Search and Rescue Helicopter based at Prestwick, Drummore, Stranraer and Portpatrick coastguard rescue teams and lifeboats from Stranraer and Portpatrick were all sent to assist."

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