Body found in Cork boat search

 

A body has been found during a shoreline search for two fishermen missing following the sinking of the Tit Bonhomme trawler off the Cork coast last month.

The body has yet to be formally identified but searchers are satisfied it is that of skipper and father-of-five Michael Hayes (52), from Helvick Head in Co Waterford.

It surfaced from debris at Prison Cove on the Glandore side of the bay shortly before 1pm and was discovered by Chief Supt Tom Hayes, a brother of Michael Hayes, and a colleague. They had been taking part in the searches for the missing trawlermen.

Mr Hayes' family gathered at the pierside this afternoon where prayers were said before the body was removed to  Cork University Hospital.

Egyptian crewman Said Mohamed (23) is still missing.

The Tit Bonhomme went down after hitting Adam Island at the mouth of Glandore Bay in stormy seas on January 15th as the trawler returned from a three-day prawn fishing trip.

Only one of the six men aboard survived – Abdul Mohammed (42) – but over the following days the bodies of three other crew members, Kevin Kershaw (21) and Egyptians Attea Shaban (26) and Wael Mohammed (35), were recovered.

Since the tragedy, the Coast Guard with the Naval Service co- ordinated a major sea search involving Navy and Garda divers, while the Coast Guard, Civil Defence and Garda carried out shoreline searches around Glandore Bay.

As Naval Service and Garda divers continued to search a 100m area close to where the Tit Bonhomme sank, the civilian divers searched in pairs a much broader area stretching towards Long Point, where survivor Abdul Mohammed was found.

The search had been scaled down from earlier this week.

Among those visiting the scene last Saturday was Taoiseach Enda Kenny who spent two hours meeting the families and thanking the searchers for their efforts.

There were emotional scenes during prayers on the pierside yesterday evening as members of the Hayes family, including Michael’s wife, Caitlín, hugged and embraced, while Said Mohammed’s father, Mohammed also looked on, supported by Egyptian friends.

Fr Pierse Cormac, who has been supporting the families over the past three weeks, informed people on the pierside at the weekend that searches would continue this week, with volunteers searching the coastline at low water mark.

“It’s been a very difficult time for the families who wait every hour and sometimes every minute for news... It’s with the goodwill of people that this search, while it’s scaled down on one level, will continue – searchers will take it day by day over the coming week.”