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Major river search for missing Coleraine man

By Connla Young

Published 28/07/2011

A major search operation has been launched for a Coleraine man who went missing close to the River Bann last weekend.

Police divers have been joined by Community Rescue Service volunteers and members of the public to search for Noel Gilmore in the area around the river.

Last night the missing man's family and PSNI said they are concerned for his welfare.

It is understood the 27-year-old, who comes from a well-known local business family, was last in contact with them in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Rescue teams began their search for the missing man at Castleroe on Tuesday and continued to work their way downstream yesterday.

Earlier this week the PSNI helicopter helped scour the river bank for the Mr Gilmore. Searches of land adjacent to the river bank are also being carried out by police and civilian rescue teams.

Rescuers were joined in the hunt for Mr Gilmore yesterday by worried relatives and friends, as well as members of the public.

Assemblyman David McClarty says the missing man's family are in the thoughts of everyone in their home town.

He said: "The thoughts and prayers of everybody are with the family at the present time, but if you have not been through such an experience you cannot fully understand what they are going through.

"Unfortunately it's a waiting game and it would be fantastic if he turned up safe and well.

"Because he is missing now for a period of time, people are beginning to think the worst.

"If that is the situation then the sooner the body is recovered the better so that the family can find closure."

Sean McCarry from the Community Rescue Service said searches will continue until Mr Gilmore is located.

He said: "We have boats and divers and ground search teams spread throughout the whole area and members of the public are also assisting in the search.

"We expect the search to last until we find him."

A spokesman for the PSNI said that both they and Mr Gilmore's family are concerned for his well-being.

He said: "Police and the family of the missing man, Noel Gilmore, are becoming increasingly concerned for his welfare.

"Noel is described as six feet one inch tall, of stocky build with cropped blond hair which is shaven at the back. He was wearing a navy blue jumper and blue jeans the last time he was seen.

"Police are urging Noel or anyone who knows his whereabouts to contact them in Coleraine on 0845600800."

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