All pupils of the Nicolson Institute were being offered support today (Saturday August 18th) after the news last night that a body had been found in the search for a missing teenager.
17-year-old Hannah Mackenzie had been missing since 4pm on Thursday (August 16th), the first day of the new school year at the Nicolson Institute.
A major search through the day yesterday (Friday August 17th) was led by Police Scotland and involved Stornoway, Tarbert, Breasclete, Ness, Scalpay, South Lochs, Miavaig and Bragar Coastguard rescue teams, duty officers, Stornoway RNLI lifeboat, Coastguard helicopter R948 and Hebrides mountain rescue team.
The Salvation Army provided food and hot drinks for the searchers, and local businesses Stornoway Golf Club and the Hub cycling centre were among those who also offered refreshments.
The search focused on Lews Castle grounds, where there had been a reported sighting of Hannah during Thursday evening. Numerous ordinary people headed for Cuddy Point during the day and offered help in covering the large search area.
Police issued a statement at 9pm yesterday evening saying: “We can confirm that a body has been found in the castle grounds, Stornoway. While formal identification has yet to take place, the family of missing person Hannah Mackenzie has been informed.”
Soon after the announcement, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar responded publically, saying that school staff, counsellors and other professionals will be on hand at the school on Monday (August 20th) to support pupils. They said: “Everyone in the School community will be deeply saddened by tonight's tragic news.
"Anyone requiring support over the weekend can contact 01851 705600 or 07545 886 438.”
Condolences to the family have been expressed by many of the searchers.
Stornoway Coastguard volunteer team said: “The whole team send our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends at this devastating time. Thank you to everyone who took the time to come out and help us today, we really appreciated your help.”
The district HM Coastguard team of Western Isles, Skye and Lochaber also posted: “Our thoughts are with the family at this devastating time. We would also like to thank everyone involved in today’s search. Your help and support means a lot to us all.”