Why wasn’t water rescue team called on night of Joby’s disappearance?

Joby Murphy. INNT 05-055-FP
Joby Murphy. INNT 05-055-FP
Share this article

QUESTIONS are being asked about why the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service’s Specialist Rescue Team wasn’t called out to try to save a Glengormley man who fell into the River Lagan last month.

Twenty-year-old Joby Murphy has been missing since he plunged into the icy waterway near the Lagan Weir footbridge in the early hours of Thursday, January 26.

The Elmfield man, who was a keen rugby player, had been out with friends at the Snow Patrol concert in the Odyssey Arena, and later went drinking at one of the nightclubs in the complex. He was last seen struggling to get into an anchored boat in Belfast Harbour after falling from the pedestrian bridge at around 1am.

This week the Times has discovered that the NIFRS water rescue unit, based just over a mile away at Belfast’s Central Fire Station, was not tasked to attend the incident, despite a call being made to the emergency services reporting Joby’s disappearance.

Speaking to the Times on Tuesday (February 7), Joby’s devastated father, Joe Murphy, questioned the policies and procedures used by the emergency services when dealing with such incidents.

“I would’ve thought when the 999 call went in it would have made sense if the Fire and Rescue Service, who are the experts in these things, had been called and it was all hands on deck, but apparently it was a PSNI operation and they decided who should be involved,” he commented.

Read the full story in this week’s Times...