Indian community mourns after two boys drown in Northern Ireland

Two teenagers have drowned in a lake in Northern Ireland.

The boys, 16, locally named Reuven Simon and Joseph Sebastian, were swimming in Lough Enagh on Monday night when they struggled.

They were part of a larger group that stopped by the lake while biking around the area.

The boys were students at St Columb’s College in the city and hailed from the South Indian community.

The bikes they were riding remained next to the lake on Tuesday, which was cordoned off by police.

Some locals visited the small pier to lay flowers in tribute.

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the two boys.

Principal Finbar Madden described the shock and sadness within the school over the “heartbreaking loss of two of our new Year 13 students”.

“No words can express the devastation we feel as a school community, but above all our thoughts and prayers are with the boys’ families, community and friends,” he said.

“It will be a very difficult time for all of the St Columb family and in the coming days it will be important that our pupils are with people they know and trust.”

He said they would support 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 lovable people”.

SDLP politician Mark H Durkan said the local community was shocked by the tragedy, especially the Kerala community, of which the teenagers were a part.

He said the town was heartbroken by the devastating loss, and thoughts and prayers were with the boys’ families, friends and the Kerala community at “this incredibly dark and difficult time”.

“All the young men involved in the incident last night were from the Kerala community, they would be a very established, established and vibrant Kerala community here, maybe 250 families from South India who have been here for a long time,” he said.

He said the boys had completed their GCSEs and their school was looking forward to welcoming them back into the classroom.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said officers were called shortly after 6.25pm ​​to reports of a number of people in difficulty in the water.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said a rapid response paramedic, five emergency teams, a hazardous area response team and a paramedic had been dispatched.

One of the boys was pulled out of the water but later pronounced dead in hospital.

The body of the second youngster was found late Monday evening following an extensive search by rescuers and police divers.

Another man was taken to hospital for treatment for injuries not believed to be life-threatening, while three others were left in shock, police said.

Mr Durkan said the lake was the scene of a tragedy around 30 years ago when a young man lost his life.

Updated: August 30, 2022, 5:31 p.m.

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