Searches continue to find missing man
Thursday, 9 February 2017
THE family of 23-year-old Jack Glenn, have issued a heartfelt plea for volunteers to help search for his body after it is believed he entered the River Foyle in Londonderry on Thursday last.
Over the past few days hundreds of volunteers have turned out to help with the search for the talented cricketer and footballer, originally from Artigarvan, which is being co-ordinated by Foyle Search and Rescue alongside Mourne Search and Rescue.
At the weekend, scores of people turned out to help search the riverside along the banks of the river and in the water during daylight hours between the Peace Bridge and Foyle Bridge at Culmore Point. A night time search was also organised on Monday night.
The search and rescue teams involved have deployed boats, jet skis, kayaks and drones to search for missing Jack and commenced sonar scans of the river on Monday.
Crowds of people also arrived in Derry on Saturday evening to take part in an emotional prayer vigil for the popular young man alongside his mother, Hester, and sister Katie, who both live in Strabane. Organisers have pledged that prayers will continue every night at 6pm until Jack has been found.
Paying tribute to her only brother, Katie described him as an "amazing brother who lit up every room he went into.
"We are all so devastated but we have to be strong to just try and get my brother back," she continued.
"We want to get him home safe with us for a short while and get him safe."
Turning her attention to those who have supported the family over the past few days, Katie added: "There are hundreds of people here today - it is crazy the amount of support we have had.
"Our family and friends are here but there are hundreds of people we don't even know, who I've never seen before in my life, who have come out to help, determined to find my brother. That means so, so much.
"Jack was so sporty, so talented at everything he put his hand to, he was amazing. He was my brother and my best friend."
Vowing to search until her brother has been found, Katie said: "Our family will be here every minute of every day until we get Jack back, and we hope everyone else will be too. We can't thank everyone enough. I can't even put into words what their help means to me. Jack would be so, so proud of everyone who is helping."
A tribute from Jack's mum, Hester, read: "So, so heartbroken. Thanks to everyone who has come to help us find my beautiful, handsome son. Please, please keep searching 'til we find him."
Writing on Facebook after the search on Monday night, Jack's dad, Colin, said: "I have never seen anything like it in my life, the support we have received tonight is unbelievable. I thank each and everyone of you from the bottom of my broken heart. Let's get wee Jacko home."
Speaking on Tuesday morning about the rescue mission so far, Jeff Barr, Mourne Search and Rescue, said: "Conditions were choppy yesterday (Monday) and there would have been a risk to go beyond the Foyle Bridge so they worked the river's edge on both sides. Their objective today (Tuesday) is to go as far as Culmore Point if the conditions are good.
"From this end we are trying to lend our support because we have a technical team that is trained to a very high standard and we felt it right that we try to help out.
"The sad thing is when we have a tragedy, it's then that we get to see what the community is really about and that's what we're witnessing now. People are keen to support the family and our key objective is to bring the remains home."
A #GetJackBack page has been set up on Facebook for those who wish to support the family and gives regular updates useful to those helping out with searches.
The PSNI have also issued advice to those involved with the search, reminding volunteers that the River Foyle can be particularly dangerous.
Inspector Tony Moore said: "Police are aware of the strength of feeling around this missing persons enquiry and the great public support at this time is a testament to our city. While we appreciate the help we and our specialist partner agencies are being offered as we search the river, I would ask those members of the public to bear the following in mind.
"Specialist search experts are involved in this, they know the river and its currents and banks due to extensive training and experience.
"The banks of the Foyle are dangerous, just like the water, conditions change rapidly and if you are not properly equipped you could find yourself at risk.
"Most of the banks are reached via private property which you require permission to use, you should bear this in mind as it includes fields and laneways, you could be liable for any damage or injury to livestock on such property."
Inspector Moore continued: "The River Foyle is tidal and also one of the fastest in Europe, if you are considering putting a vessel of any kind onto the water you should consider whether you are experienced enough to do so, and if you are, is your vessel equipped properly for search and rescue purposes. Again, there are expert search teams involved following established protocols, if you don't really know what you are doing you may hinder the search and put yourself or others at risk. Also please bear in mind large commercial vessels using the Port of Londonderry which could put you at risk on the water.
"We have already had several incidents with persons traversing the railway lines to reach the riverside, on one occasion the train driver had to hit the emergency brakes to avoid persons on the track and this puts NIR staff, passengers and persons on the track at risk, please stay off the railway lines at all times.
"Whilst we appreciate this is a difficult time for everyone I would ask that the public allow us and our partner agencies to carry out this search and if you really want to help please liaise with the relevant rescue agencies and follow their instructions and do everything as safely as possible."
A just giving page has been set up to support the Glenn family and at the time of going to press yesterday (Tuesday) the page had raised over £5,000.
Republic of Ireland soccer star and West Brom winger, James McClean, has also joined the fundraising effort donating £500 to the online fund.
If you would like to donate to the Glenn family, you can do so by logging on to: www.justgiving.com.
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