Inishowen joins search for Sean
350 volunteers comb
SCORES of Inishowen volunteers have joined many
others in combing the banks of Lough Swilly as the
search for a missing Derry teenager enters its sixth
Sean McNair, 17, from Creggan, was last seen in the
early hours of Saturday when he went swimming with
friends off Rathmullan Pier following a birthday
Since then, Inishowen has been highly instrumental
in the search with the Lough Swilly lifeboat crews
from Ned's Point, Malin Head Coast Guard,
Greencastle Coast Guard and the Inishowen Sub Aqua
Club and True North Diving Club from Malin Head all
taking part in the operation. The sailing community
in Rathmullan and Fahan and other leisure boaters
are also being vigilant while on the lough.
On the other side of the Swilly, Mulroy Coast Guard
and Sheephaven Divers were among the search teams
being co-ordinated at the mobile search command
centre at Rathmullan.
A Naval dive team with specialist search equipment
this week joined the search completing two dives
before nightfall on Tuesday. It is understood they
will remain at the scene over the coming days.
Tragic beauty...The sun sets on Lough
Swilly where Sean McNair went missing on Saturday.
Greencastle Coast Guard
officer in charge, Charlie Cavanagh, yesterday said
another extensive, low-water, shoreline search would
get underway about 3.00pm.
He said more than 350 volunteers including around
217 from the Inishowen area joined the search on
"The search is ongoing and we've extended the areas
on both sides of the Swilly. We are looking at an
area from Leenan down to almost Letterkenny and then
from there down the other side to Portsalon," said
"There are a lot of mud flats up about the Big Isle
and Letterkenny area so we will be tasking the Coast
Guard helicopter to again search those areas that
are inaccessible to the shore teams."
The divers reported poor visibility during this
week's search because of all the sand churned up
during the recent stormy days.
Mr Cavanagh said the teams were hoping for better
visibility with more sunshine forecast in the coming
Sean's heartbroken mother, Jackie, has been keeping
a vigil since her only son disappeared six days ago.
She said she just wanted her son "out of the water"
so she could lay him to rest in Derry. She said Sean
was not a strong swimmer, but decided to go into the
water after several other boys jumped from the pier.
"Whenever he tried to get back in he couldn't. The
current just took him. Jason (his cousin) tried to
save him but he lost his grip.
"He was an amazing son. He loved life. He was
waiting to do his A levels. He was waiting for his
GCSE results in August," she told reporters.
Rathmullan priest Fr Martin Collum praised the
tireless efforts of the Swilly volunteers and search
and rescue teams.