Belfast Telegraph

Major emergency response in Ballymena after bag left next to river - relief as man found safe and well

By Nevin Farrell

There was relief in Ballymena on Friday night after a major search at the River Maine ended when a person was found safe and well and it emerged they had never been in any danger.

Emergency services had been at the scene for several hours on Friday night searching along the waterway.

It is understood a person inadvertently left a bag near the river raising concerns.

Police and other emergency services begun a search operation following reports a male may have entered the water in the Galgorm Road area at around 5.15pm.

By 9.20pm police said the search had ended when it was confirmed no one had entered the water.

"Police would like to thank members of the public for their help and assistance during the operation," a PSNI spokesman said.

Speaking from the scene, just across the road from the former JTI cigarette factory Sean McCarry, Regional Commander of the Community Rescue Service, added: “We had a multi-agency response involving police, ourselves and the Fire & Rescue Service following reports regarding a male possibly getting into difficulty in the water.

“Somebody had found a bag with personal items on the bank. After extensive searches we resolved the matter and the missing person was located safe and well and had never been in any danger.”

Searchers at the scene said it had been a well co-ordinated response.

Ballymena is still reeling after the death of five-year-old boy, Kayden Fleck, who died after falling into another river in the area – the River Braid – in February this year.

At Galgorm on friday night a local man, who did not wish to be named, said: “After what happened with the wee Kayden Fleck a few months ago we feared the worst when this search started tonight.

“It would have been very hard for local people to deal with another tragedy but thankfully tonight’s search has been successfully resolved”.

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