Doagh teenager drowns during family holiday

Have your say

The funeral took place on Monday of the Doagh teenager who tragically died during a family holiday in the Roe Valley in Limavady.

Steven Mitchell died after getting into difficulty in the River Roe in the Roe Valley Country Park on Thursday (July 18).

The 15-year-old had been on a holiday with his mother Josephine at his grandfather’s house and the family had been enjoying a day out in the popular park.

It is believed Steven was playing football when he fell in at the Carrick Mills stretch of the river and hit his head.

An uncle and the boy’s grandfather dived into the water to try and save the teen.

Other members of the family formed a chain from the river bank to try and reach the boy and when they finally were able to bring him to shore he was unconscious.

Shortly after Steven was airlifted to Altnagelvin Hospital.

The family had said they were struggling to come to terms with the loss of their son.

Newtownabbey councillor Jackie Mann expressed his sympathies, he said the news had stunned the local community.

“He was only 15 and had his whole life ahead of him,” he said.

“The family are well-known in the area and this news is a tragedy, everyone is really devastated for them.”

On Monday the funeral took place of Steven from his Anderson Park home in Doagh followed by interment in Ballyclare Cemetery.

The Roe Valley Country Park is run by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan also expressed his sympathy to the family of the teenager and has ordered an investigation into the incident.

“This is a terrible tragedy,” said the minister.

“My heart goes out to the family of the teenager and I offer them and his friends my deepest sympathy.

“Given that DOE manages Roe Valley Country Park I have asked my officials for an urgent report on this tragic incident.

“I cannot advise people strongly enough of how dangerous rivers, reservoirs and quarries are and my clear message is ‘stay out of the water and stay safe’.”