The family of Londonderry teenager Dean Millar have said they are hoping “today is the day” that their search along the River Foyle comes to an end following the recovery of a body.
Dean’s family and a team of volunteers have been tirelessly searching along the River Foyle for the past five and a half weeks.
Dean’s uncle Paddy McDaid said that while nothing has been confirmed, they are hopeful that the remains will be formally identified as Dean and that the “limbo” they have been in since he went missing comes to an end.
The process to formally identify the remains is expected to get under way today, while a post-mortem will also be carried out.
Police confirmed that the body was recovered from the banks of the River Foyle on Tuesday evening.
Mr McDaid said that his family were now waiting for word from officials.
He said: “We have been using the hashtag #hopefullytodayistheday and we now hope today is the day.
“There has been nobody else reported missing and hopefully this will allow us to move into the next step in the process.
“There’s never an R.I.P. while he is in the water. If it is confirmed today then that R.I.P. process can start and it turns from a search to a grieving process.
“It is a waiting game at the minute but hopefully we will know today where we stand.”
Mr McDaid said the fast flowing River Foyle had proved “very unforgiving” but added that there was no point blaming the river.
“With every body that enters the river it is completely different. There is no time frame for when somebody is going to turn up. There is no exact science.”
He also praised all those who have been assisting the family in the search operation over the past month and a half.
“We wouldn’t have been here without them, they have been with us every step of the way,” he said.
“We have clocked up thousands of miles between us all. Morning, noon and night, rain, hail or snow, people have come out and walked in our shoes and shared the pain we were feeling.
“Hopefully today is the day for us.”
Mr McDaid said the family is also planning to help others searching in similar tragic situations in future, by providing resources, guidance and advice following their own steep learning curve.
“We have learned a lot and picked up stuff from the Glenns, who were in he exact same position and were able to help us at the time went missing,”
Mr McDaid said. “We have these torches, hi-vis vests and knowledge of the river. We will walk with them and get them up and running.”