Belfast Telegraph

Man missing after six people are thrown into Lough Erne when rowing boat overturns

By Rebecca Black

A young man was missing last night after a boating accident in Lough Erne.

Six people ended up in the water at around 6pm yesterday after a small fishing boat capsized close to Portora Boat Club, close to Enniskillen.

Five were rescued from the water and treated by paramedics, but a sixth person – believed to be a 20-year-old man – remained missing last night.

Friends and family of the missing man gathered on the lough shore last night in a silent vigil as rescue workers combed the water for their loved one.

The Coastguard said it received a call about the incident at 6.15pm from a member of the public who reported that a rowing boat had capsized.

A spokeswoman said people aboard two hire boats had rescued five people from the lough.

She said that the remaining missing person was not believed to have been wearing a lifejacket.

The Enniskillen Coastguard team was sent to the scene to search the shoreline while RNLI lifeboats based in Enniskillen and Carrybridge searched the water.

An Irish Coastguard helicopter based in Sligo also joined the search, along with a PSNI boat.

Coastguard watch manager Gary Young said: "An extensive search is continuing at this time and weather conditions are favourable in the area."

The search was called off last night at around 10.30pm after around four hours.

It was set to resume at first light this morning.

It is understood that Portora Boat Club has cancelled its Saturday morning row to help with the search for the missing man.

Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott said the fact the incident had happened so close to Enniskillen increased the level of shock felt in the community.

"People are feeling truly shocked by this incident and all our thoughts are with the missing man and his family," he said.

Sinn Fein MLA Phil Flanagan said his heart went out to the family of the person who remained missing, and paid tribute to the work of the rescue teams.

"At a difficult time like this it is important to realise the sense of shock felt in this area," he said.

"The thoughts of people here are certainly with all those involved and their families.

"It is equally important that we pay tribute to the emergency services and all those volunteers helping with the search operation. We are always grateful to the RLNI and Coastguard, who have to come out at difficult times like this."

The boating accident comes just two months after two Northern Irish men died in a fishing accident in the Irish Republic.

Daryl Burke (30) from Portadown and David Warnock (26) from Richhill had been fishing with friends on Lough Ree in Co Roscommon when their boat sank on March 20.

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