A body has been recovered from the sea in Co Clare on the third day of a multi agency search for a missing man.
Naval divers made the discovery at around 3.35pm off Caherush Point near Quilty a short distance from where it was believed 20-year-old Stephen Mungovan had accidentally fallen from a cliff early on Monday morning.
The young man was reported missing on Monday morning after efforts to contact him by phone failed. He was last seen near his home at Caherush late on Sunday night after returning from a night out with friends.
Garda and Irish Coast Guard units from Kilkee and Doolin carried out searches on Monday.
On Tuesday they were joined by naval divers while the Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter carried out several searches of the area since Monday.
Divers resumed their search early on Wednesday while as many as 100 family members, friends and locals also combed the coastline.
The body was recovered to the pier at Seafield by the naval service while a doctor boarded the boat and formally pronounced the man dead.
At 5.00pm, the body was removed from the scene by hearse and taken to University Hospital limerick for a postmortem examination.
Although formal identification of the body has to be completed, the Irish Coast Guard has confirmed that the search for Mr Mungovan has been officially stood down.
One local man said: “We’re all heart broken and just can’t believe Stephen’s gone.You can see it there. Everyone is hugging and crying. I’m a few years older than him but I’m worried about how his friends who are his own age will take this. It’s awful, especially for a family who have been through so much already.”
Kilkee Coast Guard officer-in-charge Martony Vaughan thanked those who took part in the search.
“We are happy that we have recovered this young man because the weather is due to deteriorate from Thursday and that would have made things very difficulty. We are also very grateful to all those who assisted in the search over the past few days,” Mr Vaughan said.
The operation involved An Garda, Naval Service Diving Section, Irish Coast Guard units from Kilkee and Doolin as well as Clare Civil Defence.
Members of the Irish Two Surf Rescue Club searched Spanish Point Bay on jet-skis while a local fishing boat also assisted in the search.