Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Teenage boy drowns ‘while fleeing police’

A teenager said to have been fleeing from police drowned in a river in Northern Ireland
A teenager said to have been fleeing from police drowned in a river in Northern Ireland
Police search the banks of the River Faughan at Drumahoe where a 15-year-old youth drowned

A teenage boy has drowned after falling into a river while believed to be fleeing from police following a disturbance at a house.

Officers were called to the Glenshane Road in the Drumahoe area of Londonderry around 5pm yesterday.

Police said the boy, believed to be 15 years old and from Tullyally in the city, ran off with another young man when they arrived to investigate the incident.

It is understood that while fleeing the police the boy entered the River Faughan but it was not clear how.

The officers and a member of the public tried to assist him but he was pulled unconscious from the water and died just before 6.30pm in hospital.

People in the area are being consoled by a local community worker after the community centre was opened during the evening.

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan said it was a tragic incident. He said: “This is a terrible tragedy, to hear of a young life los. Our hearts must go out to the family of this boy.

“Given the circumstances of his death it will be important for the family, the public interest and the PSNI themselves that it should be investigated independently and authoritatively by the Police Ombudsman.”

Sinn Fein Councillor Martina Anderson, who is also a Policing Board member, expressed her deep sympathy.

She said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the boy’s family and friends at this sad time. A local community worker opened up one of the community centres last night to offer support to people in the area who are just so shocked.”

She also said she hoped the investigation by the Ombudsman would be “expeditious and complete”.

Catherine Cook, a community worker in the area, said: “They tried to get him out of the water from the footbridge and a local man also tried to get him out. This stretch of river is quite fast flowing and we have had a lot of rain in the past few days.

“At times it looks quite shallow but it can be very deceiving.”

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