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Former UTV presenter Brian Black dies after car plunges into water at Strangford

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Brian Black

Brian Black

Emergency Services respond to a major incident after a vehicle enter the waters of Strangford lough. Credit Conor Kinahan/PACEMAKER PRESS

Emergency Services respond to a major incident after a vehicle enter the waters of Strangford lough. Credit Conor Kinahan/PACEMAKER PRESS

Emergency Services respond to a major incident after a vehicle enter the waters of Strangford lough. Credit Conor Kinahan/PACEMAKER PRESS

Emergency Services respond to a major incident after a vehicle enter the waters of Strangford lough. Credit Conor Kinahan/PACEMAKER PRESS

Emergency Services respond to a major incident after a vehicle enter the waters of Strangford lough. Credit Conor Kinahan/PACEMAKER PRESS

Emergency Services respond to a major incident after a vehicle enter the waters of Strangford lough. Credit Conor Kinahan/PACEMAKER PRESS

Emergency Services respond to a major incident after a vehicle enter the waters of Strangford lough. Credit Conor Kinahan/PACEMAKER PRESS

Emergency Services respond to a major incident after a vehicle enter the waters of Strangford lough. Credit Conor Kinahan/PACEMAKER PRESS

Brian Black

Former UTV presenter Brian Black has died after his car plunged into the water at Strangford Harbour.

The Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) said that he was rescued from the vehicle by members of the public and the Coastguard.

He was then taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, where he has since died.

Among those paying tribute to Mr Black, who was in his 70s, was his former UTV colleague Gerry Kelly.

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Emergency Services respond to a major incident after a vehicle enter the waters of Strangford lough.  Credit Conor Kinahan/PACEMAKER PRESS

Emergency Services respond to a major incident after a vehicle enter the waters of Strangford lough. Credit Conor Kinahan/PACEMAKER PRESS

Emergency Services respond to a major incident after a vehicle enter the waters of Strangford lough. Credit Conor Kinahan/PACEMAKER PRESS

"I am devastated to learn of the tragic death of my former UTV colleague Brian Black. May he rest in peace," he posted on Twitter.

UTV's political editor Ken Reid said: "Devastated. My old UTV colleague Brian Black has been killed in a tragic accident. He was a special man, great communicator with a special passion for improving our environment. The UTV family is in a state of shock at the loss. RIP."

Former UTV managing director Michael Wilson, who commissioned a number of Brian Black's programmes for UTV, also paid tribute to his former colleague.

"So sad to learn of the passing of Brian Black. Brian was a superb journalist, programme maker and environmental champion. I send my condolences to his family and friends. The whole UTV family - past and present - will mourn the loss of a remarkable man," he said.

The Fire Service said a call was received at around 11.40am at Quay Road in the Co Down village.

Three appliances were sent to the scene as well as the specialist rescue team.

Portaferry RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was also sent to the scene.

A spokeswoman said a launch was requested at 11.30am by Belfast Coastguard following a report of a car in the water.

"Portaferry RNLI and Portaferry Coastguard recovered a casualty from the water who was subsequently transferred to hospital. A search is ongoing to ensure no other casualties are involved," a spokeswoman said.

The Coastguard helicopter carried out an aerial search, while NIFRS Specialist Rescue Team and the RNLI carried out search on the water to make sure there were no other casualties.

Pictures from the scene showed a car being lifted out of the water while the RNLI scours the surrounding area.

Sinn Fein MLA Emma Rogan said the news shockwaves throughout the community.

“It has left people reeling and my thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected at this time especially the family and friends of Brian Black," she said.

"I would like to commend those who entered the water including the Portaferry RNLI and Portaferry Coastguard to help recover Brian from the water.”

Belfast Telegraph