August 22, 2008

Search Resumes for Man Missing at Landfill Site


A MAJOR search of a former Co Antrim quarry resumed today for a 23-year-old man who disappeared while working at the landfill site.

Police dogs and a helicopter were involved in the operation to find David Leyland, who works at Biffa Waste landfill site in Mallusk.

Fears for his safety grew today after he was reported missing shortly after 8pm yesterday.

Mr Leyland, who got married two months ago, was last seen beside machinery at about 2pm on Thursday.

His family arrived at the site this morning after spending an "agonising" night after the initial search was stopped at 1.30am due to hazardous conditions.

A search was mounted - with both the PSNI helicopter and dogs - when he could not be found.

Conditions on the site have been made more treacherous than normal because of flooding caused by recent heavy rainfall.

The brother of the missing 23-year-old, Ken Leyland, said the family was very worried as it would have been out of character for his brother to leave the site during work.

"David's worked there since he was 17 years old - he's site supervisor.

"They work six days a week and he's always been there on site. He's never late for work, he's the most reliable person there," Ken Leyland said.

He said his brother's locker was still full of his clothes, his trainers and jacket, as well as his bag and keys.

Mr Leyland's family have also asked why the alarm was not raised sooner.

However the PSNI said they received a report of a missing person at 7.50pm on Thursday.

A police spokesman said a decision had been taken to call off the search until morning because conditions were extremely hazardous in the dark.

The police searchers are understood to have ignored initial safety warnings to stop as it got dark, but eventually gave in for the night.

The quarry was closed from around 9am today while the operation resumed.

Police were turning away lorries at the gate as the operation restarted.

In a statement from Biffa Waste a spokesman said it could "confirm one of its employees did not check out yesterday evening from the site at Mallusk".

They added that they called the police to the site yesterday and are helping with the search.

A police spokesperson said: "Due to conditions being extremely hazardous in the dark, a decision was made in consultation with all other agencies involved to resume search this morning."

There are huge piles of rubbish as well as water lying from the recent flooding in the site.

The Fire Service and Health and Safety Executive are liaising with the police.

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