‘A truly unimaginable tragedy’... Larne in shock after Gracie Gordon is swept to her death in swollen river
A teenage girl's death after falling into a Co Antrim river has been described as an "unimaginable loss".
The 14-year-old died after falling into the Inver River in Larne at around 9pm on Tuesday.
She has been named locally as Gracie Gordon who lived in the town and attended St Killian's College.
A huge rescue mission was launched involving police, coastguard crews and the ambulance service. The police helicopter also provided air support.
It's understood Gracie was pulled from the water and taken to Antrim Area Hospital where she tragically passed away.
There was speculation she had been out with friends when she tripped and fell while she walked along the river bank.
After a post mortem yesterday, police ruled out foul play in the death.
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Shock gripped the community in Larne as news of the death spread.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Mayor Maureen Morrow said that despite the efforts of friends and the emergency services to save Gracie, the river was flowing too quickly due to heavy rainfall and she was swept away.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and loved ones of the young girl," the UUP councillor said.
"To lose a young person at any time is truly unimaginable but for this to happen in the run-up to the Christmas period is especially heartbreaking and I wish to extend the sympathies of the council to this young girl's family and all those who mourn her loss."
Mrs Morrow said she understood the teenager had slipped while out walking with friends. She paid tribute to the heroic efforts of the emergency services and those who battled to save the teenager.
"I am also mindful of all those from the emergency services and the volunteers from the Community Rescue Service who attended the scene and hope that they, and anyone else affected by this tragic incident, can receive the support they need in the days, weeks and months ahead," she said.
Sinn Fein Westminster candidate in East Antrim Oliver McMullan said the teenager's death had been a "tragic accident" and offered his deepest condolences.
"This is an absolute tragedy, the thoughts of the entire community will be with the girl's family after this terrible incident," the former MLA said.
East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs said there was a cloud of sadness over the town.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the young girl's friends and family at this time," he said.
Alliance councillor Danny Donnelly also said it was "very sad news".
"My thoughts are with the family of this girl," he said.
A spokesperson for the ambulance service said a number of resources were sent to the scene to support rescue efforts with one patient taken to the nearby Antrim Area Hospital.
The coastguard said it attended with crews from Larne and Portmuck which were also assisted by lifeboat crews and the police.
A GoFundMe page set up in support of Gracie’s family has raised over £1,600. To donate visit gofundme.com/f/support-for-gracies-family