A TEAM of divers from Dundalk Sub Aqua Search and Recovery Unit has recovered the body of missing 17-year-old Derry teen Sean McNair.
The body of the teenager was found off the coast of Co Donegal on Sunday, July 24 - nine days after he went missing.
Sean disappeared in the early hours of Saturday, July 16, after he jumped off Rathmullan pier with a group of friends.
The alarm was raised when Sean failed to surface. He had been attending a friend’s 18th birthday party in the seaside village when the tragedy occurred.
The Coast Guard, the Gardaí, the RNLI and volunteers have been searching for him for the past week. A body was recovered in Lough Foyle at about 3.20pm on Sunday afternoon by a team of divers from Dundalk.
The discovery came just hours after the Coast Guard said it may have to downgrade the search for the missing youth.
“Around 13 of us joined the search the first weekend the young lad went missing,” said Paddy Agnew of Dundalk Sub Aqua Search and Recovery Unit.
“Seventeen of us went this weekend. We headed up on Friday evening with two rigid inflatable boats, a jeep and a van.”
Mr Agnew added: “We started at 5.30am on the Saturday. We dived the whole day. Everyone’s exhausted now. It was tough work.
“Our most experienced divers found the body at an area just off the pier on a channel. It was great success for us.”
Sean’s mother, Jackie, and many friends had been keeping vigil at the pier where the teenager was last seen. Local priest Fr Martin Collum said that since Sean went missing all his mother wanted was to bring him home and bury him.
“We spoke to Sean’s mother on Sunday night. She is glad to have her son back. At least now she can have a funeral,” said Mr Agnew.
“We were extremely lucky; between our techniques and the currents we got him. We are very good at what we do and very experienced and it paid off this weekend.
“Everyone has to be congratulated on their efforts over the past week. As the days go on their is less chance of success.”
The search involved hundreds of people who volunteered their time. Over 25 boats from rescue groups including the Mulroy Lifeboat, the Lough Swilly Search and Rescue and the Greencastle Lifeboat took part in the search. Hundreds of people also carried out shoreline searches.