Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Man and teen drowned in disused quarry are named

The scene at a disused quarry in Co Down were Kevin O'Hare, 15, and 39-year-old Colin Polland both drowned on Saturday evening
The scene at a disused quarry in Co Down were Kevin O'Hare, 15, and 39-year-old Colin Polland both drowned on Saturday evening

A man has drowned in a vain bid to rescue a teenage boy in a disused quarry in Northern Ireland.

Colin Polland is understood to have jumped into the water at the isolated quarry in rural Co Down in a bid to save 15-year-old Kevin O'Hare, who had got into difficulties when swimming in the quarry, but both died.

Kevin was from the Dromara area of Co Down. Mr Polland was originally from Northern Ireland but had been living in England. It is understood he was back in the region on holiday.

The incident at Paul's Quarry on the outskirts of the seaside village of Annalong happened late yesterday afternoon.

Emergency crews, including police divers, were involved in an evening-long operation to recover the bodies from the former granite quarry.

The tragedy is believed to have unfolded when Kevin got into trouble while swimming in the deep waters of the steep sided quarry and a friend ran to raise the alarm.

Mr Polland responded and jumped in in an attempt to rescue him.

The site near the Glassdrumman Road is popular with young people wanting to swim on hot days.

Police said post mortem examinations would be carried out in due course.

The wider Annalong area has been hit by a series of tragedies in recent years, including the deaths of three men in a light aircraft crash four years ago and the loss of three family members in the sinking of a fishing boat in 2002.

South Down Assembly member Jim Wells expressed his condolences.

"This area has suffered many tragedies over the last number of years and this is another dreadful event that will shock the entire community," said the Democratic Unionist representative.

"I would hope there will be a full investigation to establish what happened - we need to improve safety in these sort of situations."

South Down MP Margaret Ritchie said she was deeply saddened at the tragic deaths.

"Any death is sad, but when deaths happen in tragic circumstances it is very poignant for the family, friends and local community of those who lost their lives," she said.

"My heartfelt sympathy and that of all the people goes out to the families, friends and relatives of the two men who lost their lives in such tragic circumstances in a disused quarry at the bottom of Spence Mountain in the Mournes.

"My thoughts and prayers and those of the wider community in this constituency are with the families at this tragic time.

"The people of South Down will stand shoulder to shoulder with the families at this tragic time to provide support, assistance and solidarity".

Sinn Fein MLA for the area Chris Hazzard expressed his condolences.

"My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the families at this time for their loss," he said.

"The entire community is in shock at this double tragedy at this disused quarry."

Mr Hazzard said more needed to be done to improve safety at large bodies of water.

"I would urge young people not to be tempted to swim in unauthorised pools of water as there are many dangers as last night's tragedy has shown."

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