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Coastguard combing Carlingford Lough in search of woman missing from hen party

Ruth Maguire

The Irish Coastguard are using a helicopter and rescue boats to comb Carlingford Lough in search of a missing Co Down woman.

Ruth Maguire, 30, went missing from a hen party in Carlingford late on Saturday night and has not been seen or heard from since.

The young mother-of-three, who is a nurse at Daisy Hill Hospital, was part of a 32-strong hen party from Belfast celebrating a friend’s upcoming wedding.

An Irish Coastguard helicopter, the Greenore Coastguard, the Belfast Coastguard and Kilkeel Lifeboat joined in a search when it emerged that she had posted a photograph on social media with Carlingford Lough close by.

Friend Colette Delaney wrote on Facebook that Ms Maguire “had no coat and it was freezing”.

She said she was “worried sick”.

“Please God help her be found safe,” she added.

According to her friend Katrina O’Hare, the group all headed home to the house they were staying in at 11.30pm on Saturday.

The house is less than five minutes from Taaffe’s bar, where the group was enjoying the hen party.

Within minutes they realised that Ruth was not with them, which Katrina described as “totally out of character”.

The search was suspended late last night but has begun again this morning (Monday).

An Irish Coastguard spokesperson said a Rescue 116 rescue helicopter had resumed the search around Carlingford Lough on Monday morning.

The operation is being led by An Garda Síochána.

A Garda spokesman confirmed the search operation was continuing, and a missing person investigation had been opened into the case.

Along with the rescue helicopter, also taking part in the operation are the Irish Coast Guard all-weather boat, and the Irish Coast Guard foot unit.

Kilkeel lifeboat was also launched and is searching the coastal area around the southern end of Carlingford Lough.

The hen party arrived in Carlingford on Saturday and was due to leave today.

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