Belfast Telegraph

Teenager's body found after quarry pool raft accident

By Colin O'Carroll

The body of a teenager who went missing at a disused quarry in Strabane last night has been found.

Rhys Jack (17) went into the water at the flooded quarry at Castletown Road in the Backtown area of the town last night.

Emergency services were alerted shortly before 6.30pm after a report that a man was in distress and had gone under the water.

Three other males were rescued from the water at the quarry.

Local people have said the water-filled pit is a magnet for local young people particularly when it gets warm.

Despite restricted access to the flooded quarry site, it is known as a popular venue in Strabane for local bathers and swimmers.

Videos can be seen on the internet of young men hurling themselves off the cliffs in the quarry at a place known as ‘the peak’ into the water below, watched by crowds of other teens.

Close to where the youths hit the water all kinds of debris such as planks and even a car wheel, complete with tyre, can be seen floating on the surface.

Speaking before the teenager's body was recovered, SDLP councillor Patsy Kelly said the town was “shocked and numbed”.

“It’s tragic, absolutely tragic and my thoughts go out to the young man’s family,” he said.

“We’ll just have to hope that he can be found soon to bring some closure and comfort to his family.”

Tributes to the teenager were being paid on social networking sites as the news broke.

One from Emma Forbes read: “RIP Rhys Jack, so young. can't believe it.”

Another from Eunan Mullan said: “RIP Rhys Jack; Gone but not forgotten. Prayers are with you.”

The danger at the quarry appears to be common knowledge throughout the north west. Letterkenny journalist Barry Whyte tweeted: “The disused quarry in Strabane has always been a dangerous place, should have been filled in years ago.”

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