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Last Updated: Monday, 2 February, 2004, 16:59 GMT
Teenager's body identified
Jordan Murdoch, drowned at Killough
Jordan was swept into the sea earlier this month
The body of County Down schoolboy Jordan Murdock is to be returned to his family after being formally identified on Monday.

The teenager fell into the sea at Killough pier on 11 January. His body was found off the County Down coast on Sunday.

The 14-year-old schoolboy was pulled under the water by strong currents as members of his family watched helplessly from the shore.

A woman walking her dog made the discovery shortly before 1100 GMT on Sunday, near an old sewage pipe a short distance from where the teenager had disappeared.

Jordan's aunt, Mary Murdock, said the family had endured a "heartbreaking three weeks".

"I just can't describe how they have been feeling these past three weeks. They have been walking up and down the beach, out with binoculars, searching constantly," she said.

"It is so heartbreaking but now we have got him back."

Fr Kieran Whiteford said everyone was relieved.

He said a weight had been lifted off the community in Killough.

Hundreds of volunteers combed the shoreline for any trace of the teenager in the days and weeks following the tragedy.

Mary Murdock said it was a relief her nephew's remains had been found

Teams of divers and walkers were involved in the efforts and spotter planes scoured the area.

Search co-ordinator Mick Mooney said the body was discovered only a short distance from where the teenager went missing.

"Some people had the notion that he may have been swept out on the day," he said.

"But certainly on the advice that we were taking from local people and the Boyne River Rescue team - who the community have great regard for - he never left this village.

"We were convinced ourselves that he was in there and we were determined to carry on until we got the body.

"Thankfully we did, it was retrieved approximately 200 yards from where Jordan had been swept into the water."

Later on Sunday, the search team issued a statement thanking all of those who took part in the operation and said the town would never forget those who helped the family and the community in their hour of need.

Jordan, who moved to Killough with his family from south Belfast last year, is to be buried on Thursday.

Twelve-year-old David Hackett, who jumped into the water to try to rescue Jordan, was pulled to safety by his family.

BBC NI's Rosy Billingham:
"It was the word Killough had been waiting for and word soon reached local people at Mass"

BBC NI's Mark Worthington:
"Fr Kieran Whiteford said everyone was relieved"

Search continues for boy
19 Jan 04  |  Northern Ireland
Volunteers aid sea search
17 Jan 04  |  Northern Ireland
Life-saving ring 'removed'
12 Jan 04  |  Northern Ireland

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