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Lough Enagh drowning tragedy: Tributes paid to 16-year-old boys who drowned in Derry lake during day out with friends – ‘Well-mannered, lovely people’

Tributes have been paid to two 16-year-old boys who died after getting into difficulty in a lake in Derry.

he teenagers, named locally as Reuven Simon and Joseph Sebastian, had been swimming at Lough Enagh on Monday evening when the tragedy occurred.

The boys had been in a larger group who stopped off at the lake while cycling in the area.

They were pupils at St Columb’s College in the city.

The bicycles the boys had been riding remained beside the lake yesterday which was cordoned off by police, while some locals visited the small jetty to leave flowers in tribute.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin expressed his deepest sympathies to the boys’ families.

“Our hearts go out to their families. We can all imagine young people going out to enjoy a beautiful summer’s afternoon. And for it to end in such tragedy, people availing of and using a water amenity, which we’ve all done in our different times,” he told reporters in Monaghan.

Principal Finbar Madden said there was “shock and sadness” within the school at the “heartbreaking loss of two of our incoming Year 13 pupils”.

“No words can express the devastation that we feel as a school community, but first and foremost our thoughts and prayers are with both boys’ families, community and friends,” he said in a statement.

“This will be a very difficult time for the whole St Columb’s family, and in the coming days it will be important that our pupils are with people they know and trust.”

He said they would be providing support for the students.

The boys had been involved with Newbuildings Cricket Club. In a statement, the club described them as “two of the most well-mannered and lovely people”.

“It was an absolute pleasure to have (them) in our U15s last season,” it said.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and friends, survivors and the wider Kerala community.”

Sandra Duffy, the mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, will open a book of condolence at the Guildhall today in memory of the boys.

SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan said the local community was shocked at the tragedy, particularly the Kerala community which the teenagers had been part of.

He said the city is heartbroken at the devastating loss of Reuven and Joseph, adding that thoughts and prayers
are with their families, friends and the Kerala community at “this unbelievably dark and difficult time”.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said a rapid-response paramedic team, five emergency crews, a hazardous-area response team and an ambulance officer were dispatched to the scene of the drownings.

One of the boys was taken from the water but later pronounced dead in hospital.

The body of the second youth was recovered late on Monday night following extensive searches by Foyle Search and Rescue and police divers.

Another male was taken to hospital for treatment for injuries not believed to be life-threatening, while three others have suffered shock, police said.

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