Search resumes on Lough Ree for missing fisherman

Rescue teams concede operation may now be one of recovery

Members of the Garda sub aqua unit return to shore during the continuing search of Lough Ree in Co Westmeath for a man after the boat he was in with two others capsized. Photograph: PA

Members of the Garda sub aqua unit return to shore during the continuing search of Lough Ree in Co Westmeath for a man after the boat he was in with two others capsized. Photograph: PA

Sat, Mar 22, 2014, 08:54

A search has resumed this morning for a fisherman missing since a boat capsized on Lough Ree, in Co Roscommon.

Hopes for the safe return of the man are fading as searchers concede their operation may now be one of recovery.

Search teams are using jetskis, sub-aqua units and the Coast Guard helicopter.

Searchers have also walked the shoreline.

The missing fisherman, named locally as father-of- three Daryl Burke (30), was one of three men who set off in a small Dory boat from Hodson Bay at about 3pm on Thursday.

Mr Burke was on the boat with David Warnock (27) and John Trimble (60).

Mr Warnock and Mr Trimble were taken from the water by the RNLI after the boat capsized but Mr Warnock later died in hospital.

Mr Trimble is in a stable condition in hospital.

Local man David McEnroe was the last person to speak to the men before they left the pier. He tried to dissuade them from going out. Speaking at Hodson Bay yesterday, he said, “One man has lost his life and there is still another man missing. It is still very raw with everybody at the moment”.

“I was the last person to speak to them. They said ‘we are here, there’s three of our friends up on one of the islands, we are going to get the rest of the stuff up to them, we are going to camp there as well’,” he recalled.

“I had asked them to hold on until the weather died off a little bit. They got the blue sky and they got a break in the weather and they went for it, but the nature of the lake and the nature of the weather here is just treacherous.”

He decided to call the RNLI when the boat was only about 300 metres out. “I knew with the swell of water that was starting to come up again, with the weather and the load that was in the boat and the water that was so close to the top of the boat, I knew it wasn’t going to work for them.

Mr McEnroe met Mr Burke’s wife and members of the Portadown Pikers angling club who gathered in Hodson Bay yesterday. “I had a brief word. I introduced myself earlier on; she’s a lady. It is a very sensitive time and very sensitive moment for her,” he said.

Lifeboat operations manager with Lough Ree Lifeboat Station Damien Delaney said “the search went on [Thursday] from about 3 o’clock, or half-three, until dark last night when we had to stand down because of visibility.

When asked if the operation was no focused on recovery, Mr Delaney conceded: “slowly, it is beginning to look that way”.

Such a search would be “mainly an underwater operation,” he explained.