Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Drowning victim was alone, confirm coastguard as second search called off

Emergency services called off a precautionary land and sea search for a body near one of Ulster's top beauty spots last night.

The operation was launched along the Glens of Antrim coast after police recovered a boat which had been stolen from the Waterfoot area at the weekend.

The body of a man - named locally as Liam McKeegan from Cushendall - was found on Sunday on rocks at Garron Road, near Waterfoot at around 1pm.

A post-mortem showed he drowned.

Hours later, two jackets were discovered in the boat- prompting police to fear a second man may have been with him in the water.

As a precautionary measure police conducted a search of the shoreline with the coastguard.

Two lifeboats scanned the sea while coastguard teams searched the beaches.

A police helicopter was also involved in the search.

However the operation was called off after nothing was found.

Detectives are appealing for anyone who gave a lift to a person between Waterfoot and Carnlough between the early hours of Sunday morning and noon to contact them.

Police are also asking for anyone who may have been in the boat with the man who later died to come forward to assist them with their inquiries.

Tour operator Benn Allen, of Belfast-based Allen's Tours, said holidaymakers were left visibly shaken after the man's body was found.

They were among a group of sightseers when they caught sight of the body.

Mr Allen said: "We were just driving along when my tour guide shouted, 'Pull over Benn, there's a body down there on the rocks'. I pulled the bus over straight away and we made a dash to help him.

"The top half of his body was on the rocks and his face was lying in a pool of water. His legs were still in the sea and it looked as if he had been gently washed ashore.

"He had three red marks on the back of his head. I don't know what would have caused them."

Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives in Coleraine on 0845 600 8000.

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