Belfast Telegraph

Man and dog drown in Co Down tragedy

An elderly man who drowned alongside his beloved pet dog after getting into trouble while sailing near a Co Down harbour was said to have “lived for the sea.”

The body of 84-year-old Duncan McInnes was found in the water at Groomsport yesterday morning before his dog was also recovered nearby.

It is believed the dinghy he was sailing in capsized, possibly as he was tying his boat up in the harbour. The PSNI has confirmed it isn’t treating the incident as suspicious.

Bangor Coastguard assisted police in the recovery of the man’s body after it was spotted yesterday.

Mr McInnes was part of a close-knit boating community based around the harbour near Bangor, Co Down. He was a founder member of the Cockle Island boat club.

Club honorary secretary Sam Andrews said: “He was a very well-liked wee man. He sailed his yacht everywhere, mostly on his own.”

”Last year we made him admiral of the club as a token of our esteem for his contribution to it.”

Independent councillor Alan Chambers said there was “a great sense of numbness and shock” amongst the local boating community and village residents.

He described Mr McInnes as “a polite and unassuming person who lived for his interest in the sea and boats”.

He added: “It was a passion he shared with his many friends who have boats moored at Groom

sport and his daily presence in the village, particularly around the harbour, will be sadly missed.”

Mr McInnes’ pet dog was said to have been a close companion and a familiar sight at his side at the harbour.

DUP councillor Peter Weir spoke of his sadness over the popular man’s death.

“This is a great shock to local people and the thoughts and prayers of the whole community are with the McInnes family.

“The Coastguard and the lifeboat crew are to be commended for their efforts but sadly in this case there was simply nothing they could do.

“Mr McInnes was an experienced sailor and this tragedy must show all of us to show respect for the sea, and take every safety precaution.”

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