Gardaí and Irish Coast Guard continue Kerry search for John Cunningham

Cork man missing since Saturday may have been tending lobster pots near Slea Head

The Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre on Valentia also requested assistance from the Irish Coast Guard unit in Doolin in Co Clare, who operate a drone. Photograph: Alan Landers.

The Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre on Valentia also requested assistance from the Irish Coast Guard unit in Doolin in Co Clare, who operate a drone. Photograph: Alan Landers.

 

Irish Coast Guard teams are to resume searches on Wednesday morning for a 52-year-old man missing from his west Kerry home since Saturday.

John Cunningham, who is originally from the Lough in Cork city, went missing on Saturday afternoon from his home in Dun Chaoin, where he had been staying with an elderly relative.

A neighbour reported Mr Cunningham missing on Monday and gardaí from Dingle began a missing person’s investigation and established that his car was still at his home in Dun Chaoin.

Gardaí also began checking on Mr Cunningham’s mobile phone to see if it might provide any clues as to where he went and garda technical experts confirmed that it switched off some time after noon on Saturday.

Mr Cunningham was known to keep lobster pots at Coumeenole near Slea Head, which he used to retrieve from the shore using a rod and it is feared he may have been swept of rocks into the sea by a wave while attending to them.

Gardaí contacted the Irish Coastguard and the Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre on Valentia Island on Tuesday tasked the Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 to carry out a search of the area.

Rescue 115 carried out a grid search of the sea off Slea Head but found no trace of Mr Cunningham, while the Irish Coast Guard Cliff and Coastal Rescue Unit from Slea Head carried out a shoreline search.

The Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre on Valentia also requested assistance from the Irish Coast Guard unit in Doolin in Co Clare, who operate a drone and they travelled from West Clare to assist in the search.

However a heavy weather front prevented the Irish Coast Guard unit from Doolin from getting the drone airborne until around 6pm, when it carried out a sweep of the area but again found no trace of Mr Cunningham.

It’s expected that the search will resume at first light on Wednesday for Mr Cunningham with family members from Cork having travelled to west Kerry to join with local volunteers in the search operation.