Northern Ireland

Hen party drowning: Searchers thanked after Carlingford tragedy

Ruth Maguire Image copyright Family
Image caption Ruth Maguire's body was discovered on Monday, after she went missing while on a hen party

The sister of a woman who drowned in Carlingford Lough last weekend has thanked all of those who helped in the search operation.

Ruth Maguire's body was discovered on Monday, after she went missing while on a hen party.

The County Down woman, who was due to be married in August, will be buried in her wedding dress on Saturday.

Her sister Rachel said the family knew something was wrong when they did not hear from the mother of three.

The hen party had travelled to Carlingford to celebrate a friend's forthcoming wedding.

The alarm was raised by friends, who were staying at a house in the town, when they realised Ms Maguire, from Newcastle, had not returned after midnight.

"It was a rarity that she'd have even one or two drinks, so she'd obviously had a few at this," her sister Rachel Wilkinson said.

Image caption Rachel Wilkinson said the family quickly knew that something was "very wrong"

"Immediately the girls [on the hen night] knew that night when she didn't come back that there was something wrong."

She said they contacted contacted Ruth's partner James the next morning.

"He knew immediately that something was wrong, because she wouldn't have went to a party, she wouldn't have went on to have drinks elsewhere, she wasn't really a drinker.

"The fact that she didn't come back, we knew there was something very wrong.

"She would have rang home, she would have wanted to speak to the kids, so the fact that she didn't, we knew something was wrong."

Rachel said the family "couldn't thank enough" all those who helped to search for his sister.

"There were so many people - the residents, local people in the town and even other girls who were on hen parties there were helping out and people were bringing as much information as they could," she said.

Image copyright Shauna McNeill/ Cooley Community Alert
Image caption Ruth Maguire's funeral mass will be held on Saturday morning

"Local people with CCTV were showing it to the gardai trying to help them."

Irish police investigating Ms Maguire's sudden death confirmed they were preparing a file for the coroner.

A spokesman said: "There is nothing to say this is anything other than a tragic accident."

Rachel said that finding Ruth had brought the family some closure.

"There would always have been the question of what happened and was she in the water or did someone take her, is she somewhere and someone's hurting her."

She described her sister as "a real family orientated person".

"She was the baby of the family, but probably the most sensible of all of us and kept us all on top of everything and she kept everyone together," she said.

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