Family of missing man visit Baltimore to thank search teams

Divers hope to resume search off Baltimore after expected bad weather front passes

The family of a young man missing following a drowning tragedy which claimed the lives of his father and girlfriend in West Cork have visited the scene to express their gratitude to searchers who have spent the past three days looking for him.

Ann Davis visited Beacon Point outside Baltimore where up to 50 people are involved in the search for her son, Barry Davis Ryan (20) who remains missing after the tragedy which claimed the lives of her husband, Barry Ryan (51) and her son's girlfriend, Niamh O'Connor (20).

Ms Davis was accompanied by her daughter, Charlotte Davis Ryan (13), who was making her first visit back to the scene where she witnessed her father, brother and Ms O'Connor get into difficulty in the sea before racing to the Beacon landmark to raise the alarm.

Ms Davis and her daughter were also accompanied by Mr Ryan's brother, Colin Ryan and his wife Fiona and by Garda Liaison Officer Pauline Reid, who introduced them to various members of the Irish Coastguard and other agencies involved in the search operation.


According to Tim O’Keeffe of the Irish Coastguard, “the family just wanted to see the scene for themselves and to express their gratitude to everyone involved in the search for their efforts while it also gave us an opportunity to express our condolences to the family on their loss”.

It’s understood that Charlotte Davis Ryan was able to brief searchers on where exactly it was that she last saw her father and her brother after they entered the sea to try and save Ms O’Connor, who had either fallen or been swept into the water by a wave.

Some 15 divers from the Naval Service and the Garda Water Unit have joined with six divers from the West Cork Underwater Search and Rescue (SAR) team to carry out searches of the Eastern Hole Bay area on the seaward side of Beacon Point.

John Kearney of The West Cork Underwater SAR said that conditions were the best to date for diving with visibility of up to eight metres and while a low pressure front is expected to prevent diving on Saturday, they are determined to continue with the search.

“The weather is closing in and I’d say we could lose anything up to five days, but it’s on our doorstep so we’re not going to give up that easy and we will be back here again next week once weather permits,” said Mr Kearney.

Irish Coastguard members from Toe Head, Glandore, Goleen and Castlefreke will continue with shore line searches for Mr Davis Ryan. And Baltimore RNLI Inshore Boat, Schull Community Rescue Boat, Toe Head Coastguard Boat and West Cork Civil Defence Search boat also plan to continue with surface water searches of the area despite the deterioration in weather which is preventing diving, he added.

Meanwhile funeral arrangements have been finalised for Ms O’Connor from Glanmire who is survived by her parents, Paul and Catherine and sister, Clodagh. She will be buried following requiem mass at the Sacred Heart Church, Glounthaune near Cork city at 10am on Saturday morning.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times