Teenager in drowning tragedy was from Dromara

The 15-year-old boy who died after drowning in a disused quarry in Annalong yesterday has been named as Kevin O’Hare from the Dromara area.

Colin Polland, who was on holiday from England, is understood to have jumped into the water at the isolated quarry in an attempt to rescue the teenager but also drowned.

The incident at Paul’s Quarry on the outskirts of the seaside village happened late on Saturday afternoon.

Emergency crews, including police divers, were involved in an evening-long operation to recover the bodies from the former granite quarry.

The tragedy is believed to have unfolded when Kevin got into trouble while swimming in the deep waters of the steep sided quarry and a friend ran to raise the alarm. Mr Polland responded and jumped in to try and rescue him.

The site near the Glassdrumman Road is popular with young people wanting to swim on hot days.

Police said post mortem examinations would be carried out in due course.

SDLP MP for South Down MP, Margaret Ritchie, said she was deeply saddened at the tragic deaths.

She said: “I am deeply saddened to learn about the untimely and tragic deaths of two men in a disused quarry near Glassdrumman, Annalong last night.

“Any death is sad, but when deaths happen in tragic circumstances it is very poignant for the family, friends and local community of those who lost their lives.

“My heartfelt sympathy and that of all the people goes out to the families, friends and relatives of the two men who lost their lives in such tragic circumstances in a disused quarry at the bottom of Spence Mountain in the Mournes.

“My thoughts and prayers and those of the wider community in this Constituency are with the families at this tragic time. The people of South Down will stand shoulder to shoulder with the families at this tragic time to provide support, assistance and solidarity.

Alliance Councillor in South Down, Patrick Clarke, told of his “deep sadness following the tragic deaths of teenager Kevin O’Hare aged 15 and 39-year-old Colin Polland”.

“There is a deep sense of loss and shock in the local community,” he said.

“I would like to commend the efforts of the PSNI divers, the Fire and Rescue Service, and the coastguard who were involved in trying to rescue both men.

“This is an awful tragedy and my heartfelt sympathies go out to the families of Kevin O’Hare and Colin Polland.”

Sinn Fein MLA Chris Hazzard also has offered his condolences to the two families.

“My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the families at this time for their loss. The entire community is in shock at this double tragedy at this disused quarry,” he said.

He added that there have been similar tragedies in Strabane and Londonderry in recent years and “more needs to be done to improve safety at large bodies of water”.

“I would urge young people not to be tempted to swim in unauthorised pools of water as there are many dangers as last night tragedy has shown,” he said.