Book of condolences to open for drowned teenagers in Derry

Book of condolences to open for drowned teenagers in Derry

A BOOK of condolence will open in Derry this afternoon for two teenage boys who drowned in a lough in the city on Monday.

It will be available to the public at the Guildhall from 4pm.

Sixteen-year-olds Reuven Simon and Joseph Sebastian, who were members of the local Indian community, drowned when they got into difficulty while swimming at Enagh Lough on the outskirts of the city.

They will be buried on Friday after 11am Mass in Ardmore Church according to the rites of the Syro-Malabar church.

The pair were and four other friends had gone to the lough on a day out to mark the end of the school holidays.

Mayor of Derry and Strabane Council Sandra Duffy extended her condolences to the boys’ families.

"I hope that the book of condolence will give the families some comfort at this difficult time and would encourage people from across the city and district and beyond to sign the book and send messages of support to the families at this difficult time," Ms Duffy said.

For anyone who cannot sign in person there is an option to do so online on the Derry City and Strabane district council website.

SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan has said the whole city is in mourning following the death of two teenagers on Monday evening.

“Our entire city is in a deep sense of shock and mourning following the news that Reuven Simon and Joseph Sebastian lost their lives while swimming in Enagh Lough on Monday evening. The loss of two young lives in such tragic circumstances is utterly heartbreaking and I know I speak for everyone in Derry when I say that our thoughts and condolences are with the families affected."

Meanwhile, a rescue group which helped in the search for the two boys said safety information around the lough should be reviewed.

Stephen Twells from Foyle Search and Rescue said there should be additional signage and extra lifebelts.

The lough has a reputation for being a dangerous body of water and shelves quickly just off the shore into deep water.

There is one small sign warning of deep water near the jetty where the boys drowned, but it is not in a prominent position.

The fire brigade has warned of the dangers of swimming in open water such as lakes and quarries.

It said the water in them can be deceptively cold, causing people to get into difficulty.