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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 April 2007, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Teen cousins die in canoe tragedy
Searchers in a dinghy
Search teams found the bodies close to a small jetty
The bodies of two cousins who had been missing since their canoe capsized on a lake in County Down have been found.

Rory McAlinden, 18, and Claire Steel, 16, had been missing since about 0100 BST at Castlewellan Forest Park.

The alarm was raised by a third person, who was also in the canoe but managed to swim ashore and dial 999.

Laurence Cummings of the Coastguard said the cousins, from the Castlewellan area, were found by a local dive team at about 1100 BST.

"They were located in the north east corner of the lake, not very far from a small jetty," he said.

"It is our understanding that they were between 30 to 40ft from the shore."

Relatives
Relatives gathered to watch the search operation

The coastguard, the police and the fire and rescue service had all been involved in the search. A police helicopter was also used in the operation.

Superintendent Peter Loughins said the third person who managed to swim to safety was not physically injured, but was in a state of shock.

"Shortly after 1100 BST police dogs and a civilian dog located in the water a body," he confirmed.

"In response to that the Mourne Underwater Search Team subsequently found the bodies of Clare Steele and Rory McAlinden."

He added: "We give our sympathy to the families involved at this time."


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Emotional scenes at the lakeside



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