A village near Dungannon was in shock yesterday after a body was found in a lough.
The remains of a local woman named as Hilda Kyle from Moygashel were discovered in Black Lough by rescue workers at around 10.15am.
It is understood that the 68-year-old mother-of-four took a taxi to the beauty spot, which is popular with walkers and anglers, just after 3pm on Monday.
Shocked friends and neighbours described her as “a very jolly lady”, but also admitted that she had been struggling with depression.
It is believed that Mrs Kyle had been diagnosed with cancer in the past and had been in remission until recently.
After she failed to return to her home in Moygashel, she was reported as missing on Monday evening.
Rescue teams working with police began a planned search of the area shortly after 9am on Tuesday.
Two boats and a police helicopter assisted with the operation, and after an hour a body was found in the water on the Eglish Road side of the lough.
Sean McCarry, from the Community Rescue Service, was at the scene of the discovery.
“Our thoughts go out to the family,” he told the Belfast Telegraph. “We’re working closely with the police at the moment to make sure that the family and relatives are kept informed of the situation.”
Stanley Harvison (63), who lives beside the lough and knew the widow well, said it was a devastating loss.
“She would have run about with my sister, and I just heard they found the body,” he added. “She was a very nice woman. She was jolly at times, but she did also have depression. This has been terrible. We were walking around the lough this morning at around 7am after we heard that she was missing.
“She got a taxi over there yesterday. The taxi man didn’t know something was wrong. People are just coping as best they can.”
Eileen McClean (66), who was close to the victim, last spoke to her on Monday. “She was my friend,” she explained. “I heard that she went to the lough and got a taxi there about 3.15pm. We were very close.
“She was a very jolly lady, only she was also a wee bit depressed. She had three boys and a girl. I had seen her in town yesterday morning. I told her I’d see her later, but I didn’t get seeing her.”
Ulster Unionist councillor for the area Walter Cuddy described the widow as a “wonderful, friendly woman with a great personality” who frequently visited his shop in Dungannon.
Sergio Lobo, who lives facing the lough, added: “It’s a sad moment for everyone. We don’t know anything about her last hours, and it’s really difficult to know what to say.
“I thought that something was very wrong when I saw the police helicopter.”
His wife, Mary, said: “I just heard that a lady from Moygashel had been found in the water, a local woman. It’s very sad for everybody. I’m sure that it’s very difficult for the people who found her too.”
A cordon remained in place around the area until 8pm yesterday as the police continued their investigations.
It is understood the family have been informed and that a post-mortem examination will be carried out.
DUP councillor Kim Ashton paid tribute, saying: “I would just like to pass on my sympathy to the family. It’s a very tragic story that has come from Dungannon today. I’d like to let the family know that we’re all thinking about them as they’re going through what must be a very difficult time.”
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this story, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or Lifeline on 0808 808 8000