Northern Ireland

River and ground searches for missing woman resume

Search and rescue teams looking for Chloe Mitchell in Ballymena (Liam McBurney/PA)
Search and rescue teams looking for Chloe Mitchell in Ballymena (Liam McBurney/PA)

The search for a missing 21-year-old woman is continuing, with teams searching a river near to where she was last seen as well as surrounding property.

Chloe Mitchell was last seen on CCTV in the early hours of June 3 in Ballymena town centre.

A 26-year-old man was arrested in Lurgan, Co Armagh and police say he is co-operating with inquiries.

PSNI Chief Inspector Arnie O’Neill said Ms Mitchell was last seen heading in the direction of James Street, wearing a green and black North Face-style jacket, a white T-shirt, leggings and Nike trainers.

Chloe Mitchell missing
Chloe Mitchell, 21, who was last seen in the early hours of Saturday June 3 in Ballymena town centre (Family handout/PSNI/PA)

Community Search and Rescue as well as K9 Search and Rescue began the search for Ms Mitchell around the River Braid on June 8.

Police directed the search and rescue team to a section of the river in the Castle Gardens area of Ballymena that included an embankment with an 18-feet drop.

Several Community Rescue Service vehicles including a specialist lowland search unit attended the site at the River Braid.

Chloe Mitchell missing
Search and rescue workers behind a property on Edward Street in Ballymena (Liam McBurney/PA)

Darren Harper, district commander for Community Rescue Service, said search efforts on Thursday had allowed them to eliminate some areas.

“Today’s search is going to be just a continuation on from the search areas yesterday, just eliminating the areas that Chloe may not be in,” he said.

Mr Harper said his team was well-equipped to deal with the difficulties in searching the steep embankment of the River Braid.

“We do have a tech team that will be able to get down there, so it’s not going to be so much of a challenge,” he said.

“It’s just because of the low light yesterday when this search area was identified within our search strategy. It was just a lot safer for our guys to try and access it during daylight hours.”

Ground teams searched the areas around the river but also close to a property in James Street, near to Ms Mitchell’s last known whereabouts, which had been cordoned off by police.

Chloe Mitchell missing
A police cordon in James Street in Ballymena close to where Chloe Mitchell was last seen on CCTV (Liam McBurney/PA)

Mr Harper maintained that the teams were still hoping to find Ms Mitchell.

“Ground teams again, we’re searching for Chloe herself. As I say we’re just systematically searching in and around the area at the minute,” he said.

Community Rescue Service regional commander Sean McCarry said the search on Friday morning would begin with around 35 people, but that that number was expected to increase throughout the day.

Chloe Mitchell missing
Search and rescue teams at Braidwater Retail Park in Ballymena as the search resumes in Co Antrim for missing Chloe Mitchell (Liam McBurney/PA)

Community groups in Ballymena had also been carrying out searches for Ms Mitchell on Thursday, including the Harryville Residents Association and Ballykeel and District Community Association.