Divers resume Cork sea search


Divers have resumed a search of the area around the sunken trawler Tit Bonhomme in Glandore Bay in west Cork this morning for two missing fishermen after yesterday recovering the remains of a third member of the crew.

The remains of Egyptian father-of-two Wael Mohammed (35) was found by a team of civilian divers near where the Tit Bonhomme went down off Adam Island near the entrance to Glandore Harbour on the morning of January 15th

The search resumed at first light this morning for the bodies of the skipper of the boat, father-of-five Michael Hayes (52), from Helvic Head in Co Waterford, and Egyptian Said Mohammed (23) who remain missing following the tragedy.

Last Thursday, teams of Naval Service and Garda Water Unit divers recovered the remains of Egyptian, Attea Shaban (26), and Kevin Kershaw (21) who was originally from Dublin but had lived in Clonakilty in west Cork for the past seven years.

The discovery and recovery of Wael Mohammed’s body was made by a team of civilian divers from Union Hall and Baltimore, who were diving under direction from the Irish Coast Guard and Naval Service who are co-ordinating the search.

One of the divers, Aodh O’Donnell, told how he and fellow divers Eamon Barry, John Kearney and Pat O’Driscoll were diving from a rigid inflatable boat (rib) driven by Declan O’Donoghue when they found Mr Mohammed’s remains at about 9.30am.

“We were diving around 250-300 metres from where the Tit Bonhomme went down on the western side of Adam Island when we came upon the poor man’s body in about seven metres of water and we brought him aboard,” said Mr O’Donnell.

The dive team contacted Naval personnel on board the LE Niamh under the command of Lieut Cdr Paddy Harkin and arrangements were made to prepare Mr Mohammed’s body for transportation back to Union Hall on board the the Rib.

There were emotional scenes back on the pier at Union Hall as Wael Mohammed’s remains were brought ashore to a temporary morgue set up in a tent on the pierside where he was identified by his brother, Abdul Mohammed (43), who survived the tragedy.

Abdul Mohammed later joined about 50 members of the Egyptian community as they gathered behind a hearse carrying his brother’s remains and turned out towards the harbour and faced east towards Mecca to pray.

Holding out their hands, palms open and upwards, the men were led in prayer by Sameh Farrag with the men responding to his prayers as more than 100 members of the local west Cork community stood with their heads bowed in respectful silence.

Morad Gharib, a cousin of Wael Mohammed, explained that the men had not just prayed for Wael Mohammed but also for the families of the other men recovered and the families of those still waiting for their loved ones to be found. “We prayed God would put an end to the waiting for the other families and that we would find the other two bodies today – it’s a relief Wael’s body was found but we won’t be fully relieved until the other two bodies are found today or tomorrow.”

The dive team from Union Hall and Baltimore continued searching in the vicinity of the wreck as Naval Service and Garda divers searched closer to the ship while another dive team from Mallow Search and Rescue searched near Long Head.

Teams of searchers from the Irish Coast Guard and the Civil Defence along with Garda searchers combed the rocky shoreline while some Irish Coast Guard members landed on Adam Island and combed its steep and rocky shoreline where the boat sank.