TRIBUTES have been paid to two young men who died in a car crash.
The men, named locally as Christopher O’Neill and Declan McKenna, were involved in a fatal incident involving a blue BMW M3 car on the Agivey Road area of the Kilrea shortly after 3.30am on Saturday.
It is believed the vehicle may have hit a tree and then burst into flames.
Mr O’Neill and Mr McKenna were in their 20s and from the area.
The A54 Agivey Road has reopened after being closed for most of the day while police examined the scene.
Leading tributes, the Sinn Féin Martin McGuinness expressed his shock at their deaths.
In a statement Mr McGuinness said that Mr O’Neill was a party member and grandson of former Sinn Féin councillor John Davey, who was killed by the UVF in 1989.
“The accident outside Kilrea has claimed the lives of two young local men and I would extend my condolences to both families involved,” Mr McGuinness said.
“Declan McKenna and Christopher O’Neill were close friends and died together in this tragic accident.
“Christopher O’Neill is the Chairperson of the local Sinn Féin Cumman in Kilrea.
“He is the grandson of our party colleague John Davey killed by loyalists in 1989 and republicans in County Derry and beyond are deeply shocked today at this terrible news.”
DUP MLA for East Londonderry Adrian McQuillan extended his condolences to the families.
“Everybody is really shocked,” he said.
“Apparently it is two well known families in the town and everybody is just thinking about them and praying for them.
“I think it’s important we all pull together here and I know from talking to the community that everybody is willing to pull together and show these families the support, care and attention they will need.”
SDLP Councillor Roisin Loftus also joined in the tributes.
She said Mr O’Neill and Mr McKenna were “very popular and in the prime of their lives”.
“It’s just a sense of total shock as to what has unfolded here today.
“Two young men have tragically lost their lives in this accident and the community are just finding it very hard to understand that at this stage.”